UCLA Professor Sriram Sankararaman and lead author Ph.D. student Boyang Fu have made a groundbreaking discovery in genetic research.Their recent publication “Fast kernel-based association testing of non-linear genetic effects for biobank-scale data” in Nature Communications unveils the presence of complex genetic interactive effects in the development of complex diseases, a phenomenon that has been largely overlooked in previous research.

Traditionally, genetic contributions to diseases were viewed as majorly additive, with limited understanding of how genes interact with each other. The Sriram Lab has pioneered the exploration of these interactive effects through extensive studies, revealing a new dimension in genetic analysis. This finding opens doors to deeper insights into the genetic architecture of diseases, promising advancements in precision medicine and targeted treatments, and offers a promising avenue for synergizing genetic analysis with cutting-edge large language model techniques.

Computational genetics and modern Machine Learning/ Deep Learning have long been operated in distinct spheres. This separation stemmed largely from the absence of compelling evidence to justify the integration of complex models and hypotheses within computational genetics. Sankararaman’s work represents a pioneering effort in bridging these two fields. By demonstrating the tangible benefits and feasibility of combining these disciplines, The Sriram Lab has initiated a transformative journey towards a more integrated, innovative approach in genetic research.

This landmark study also involves Dr. Ali Pazokitoroudi and Zhengtong Liu fromThe Sriram Lab, as well as external collaborators Dr. Mukund Sudarshan and Professor Lakshminarayanan Subramanian from NYU.