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Human Genome Epidemiology, 2nd EditionBuilding the evidence for using genetic information to improve health and prevent disease$
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Muin Khoury, Sara Bedrosian, Marta Gwinn, Julian Higgins, John Ioannidis, and Julian Little

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195398441

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195398441.001.0001

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Preterm birth

Preterm birth

Chapter:
(p.357) 18 Preterm birth
Source:
Human Genome Epidemiology, 2nd Edition
Author(s):

Siobhan M. Dolan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195398441.003.0018

Preterm birth (PTB) is a perplexing clinical condition and major public health challenge. In 2006, 12.8% of all births in the United States were preterm, defined as occurring before 37 completed weeks of gestation. Preterm birth is the second leading cause of infant mortality and the leading cause of infant mortality among black infants in the United States, as well as the major contributor to worldwide infant mortality and morbidity. Despite the significant public health burden of PTB, there are few effective strategies to reliably predict or prevent PTB. The etiology of this common complex condition remains elusive. Efforts to identify environmental contributors suggest that smoking, stress, black race, nutritional deficits, and infection contribute to, but do not explain, the majority of PTBs. Therefore, the discovery of predisposing genetic variants and relevant gene-environment interactions will likely be of great value in unraveling the mystery of PTB, by identifying women at risk and setting the stage for research and enhanced clinical and public health prevention strategies. This chapter discusses gene-disease associations PTBs.

Keywords:   genetic variants, genetic variations, human disease, genome-wide studies, preterm birth

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