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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2008 October;60(5):399-419

language: English

Searching for genetic factors underlying pre-eclampsia: recent progress and persistent challenges

Ward K. 1, 2

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women’s Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Manoa, HI, USA
2 Lucina Foundation, Salt Lake City, UT, USA


Pre-eclampsia is a complex familial disorder which probably involves multiple genes in several biological pathways. Case reports, twin studies, segregation analyses, linkage analyses, and association studies have been reported, but thus far, progress has been limited. Most genetic studies have focused on only a handful of candidate genes, and almost all are insufficiently powered to dramatically advance our understanding. Genome-wide association studies are the future of pre-eclampsia genetic research. Multi-center efforts are needed to recruit and define clinical and pathologic subsets, and high-dimensional biology techniques will need to be employed or future efforts will continue to be stymied by pre-eclampsia’s heterogeneity. Despite the difficulties detailed in this review, genomic approaches still offer the best opportunity to develop predictive tests and appropriately targeted therapies in the shortest possible time.

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