Genetic epidemiology is of topical and increasingly practical relevance. The subject attempts to answer 2 questions: (1) is there a genetic component to a disease, and (2) what genes are involved? This article summarizes genetic epidemiologic methods, describing family- and population-based methods used to locate and identify genes and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Health care professionals are faced with more and more genetic information, both from interested patients and from the media, and understanding the principles underlying genetic studies allows such information to be placed in context. © 2010 American Optometric Association.
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