The current review collates what is already known of the genetics of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and focuses on new trends in genome-wide assessment of the inherited component of susceptibility to this condition. Early efforts to identify kidney disease susceptibility genetic loci using linkage and candidate gene strategies proved disappointing. More recently, genome-wide association studies have yielded highly promising results suggesting a number of potential candidate genes and genomic regions that may contribute to the pathogenesis of CKD. Renal failure susceptibility genes identified by these methods, such as MYH9, have yielded novel insights into the pathogenesis of CKD. Genome-wide association studies of CKD are beginning to define the genomic architecture of kidney disease and will impact our understanding of how genetic variation influences susceptibility to this condition.

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