eQTLs as causal instruments for the reconstruction of hormone linked gene networks
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionFrontiers in Endocrinology. 2022, 13, 949061. 10.3389/fendo.2022.949061
Hormones act within in highly dynamic systems and much of the phenotypic response to variation in hormone levels is mediated by changes in gene expression. The increase in the number and power of large genetic association studies has led to the identification of hormone linked genetic variants. However, the biological mechanisms underpinning the majority of these loci are poorly understood. The advent of affordable, high throughput next generation sequencing and readily available transcriptomic databases has shown that many of these genetic variants also associate with variation in gene expression levels as expression Quantitative Trait Loci (eQTLs). In addition to further dissecting complex genetic variation, eQTLs have been applied as tools for causal inference. Many hormone networks are driven by transcription factors, and many of these genes can be linked to eQTLs. In this mini-review, we demonstrate how causal inference and gene networks can be used to describe the impact of hormone linked genetic variation upon the transcriptome within an endocrinology context.