Complex traits

A complex trait is a characteristic (a phenotype) that has more than one genetic contributor. Finding out the exact genes or genetic variants that confer these characteristics can be helpful in disease research and studies of human evolution and diversity.

In the Complex Trait Genomics group at Trinity College Dublin we use cutting-edge techniques to examine the human genome in exquisite detail to better understand complex traits. We are particularly interested in neurodegenerative diseases, with a special focus on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Also known as motor neurone disease (MND), ALS is a severe, incurable, late-onset neurodegenerative disease that affects around 100-110 new people each year in Ireland and around 150,000 worldwide.

We also study the population genetics of humans to better understand the forces and events that have shaped the genetic diversity that we see amongst people today, with a particular focus on the fine-grained differences and similarities seen within the Irish population. This is helpful in disentangling benign and disease-causing genetic variation.

Complex Trait Genomics Group, Trinity College Dublin
Principal investigator: Russell McLaughlin