It's been a while since the last post - business travel and then the inevitable catching up.
I have been thinking about homeostasis lately and why GWAS results don't describe all that much regarding the total amount of variability. Perhaps it takes many hits ("disease" or "risk" alleles) in the same operational unit (e.g., a pathway) to see disease or biomarker thereof as a measurable phenotype. And so I wonder if the organism has a much stronger drive to maintain homeostasis than we realize. In other words, the body can absorb many small defects to a given pathway so long as the environmental conditions do not go awry such as might happen with years of poor nutrition. The body can even operate well within a certain range and that brings to mind a term I heard the other day - homeodynamics. It is true. Running a marathon won't make someone collapse, neither will a hot day and neither will a low intake of fluids. The combination, however, will greatly increase the risk of that taking place.
So, with respect to my research and examining GWAS data, I am more convinced than ever that we must look at an enrichment of pathways hit by the association data. I'm excited to give that a try.