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NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms

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genome-wide association study


A genome-wide association study (GWAS) is a way for scientists to identify inherited genetic variants associated with risk of disease or a particular trait. This method surveys the entire genome for genetic polymorphisms, typically single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (pronounced “snips”), that occur more frequently in cases (people with the disease or trait being assessed) than in controls (people without the disease or trait). Also called GWAS.