About the Study

Genetic Research for Everyone

Genes for Good is a research study conducted at the University of Michigan. The major goal of the study is to engage tens of thousands of individuals in genetic research. The primary tool to accomplish this is the Genes for Good Facebook App. Participants engage in the study through the App, answer health-related questions, and view summaries of selected survey questions. 

Common and Complex Disease

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, smoking, alcohol abuse -- these are some of the diseases and behaviors that impact our entire society. They are leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. and worldwide. Each is caused, at least in part, by genes. The DNA we inherited from our parents affects our risk for a vast array of diseases and behaviors. Our chances of trying cigarettes or becoming addicted to alcohol, for example, is strongly influenced by our genes. 

Genes and the Environment

Researchers are making progress in understanding how our genes impact our lives, and many individual genes have been discovered that affect risk of diabetes, heart attack, cancer, and so on. But genes don't do it alone. Our genetic makeup interacts with our environment to lead to disease. PKU is a great example of how genes interact with the environment to result in disease. With PKU, you have to have a genetic mutation, and you have to ingest phenylalanine (which naturally exists in much of the food we eat) to develop the disease. Many other diseases are no different; it's only that the genes and environments that can lead to disease are numerous, varied, and much harder to measure. Genes for Good is a valuable step toward understanding this complex interplay that affects the health of billions of individuals, almost certainly including you, your friends, and your family.