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Open Access Highly Accessed Opinion

The genetics of infectious disease susceptibility: has the evidence for epistasis been overestimated?

Matthew D Hall* and Dieter Ebert

Author Affiliations

University of Basel, Zoological Institute, Vesalgasse 1, Basel, CH-4051, Switzerland

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BMC Biology 2013, 11:79  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-11-79

Published: 15 July 2013

Abstract

Interactions amongst genes, known as epistasis, are assumed to make a substantial contribution to the genetic variation in infectious disease susceptibility, but this claim is controversial. Here, we focus on the debate surrounding the evolutionary importance of interactions between resistance loci and argue that its role in explaining overall variance in disease outcomes may have been overestimated.