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Genetic and environmental factors, including diet and lifestyle, both contribute to cardiovascular diseases, cancers and other major diseases, but various lines of evidence indicate that environmental factors are the most important.

Overly enthusiastic expectations of the benefits of genetic research for disease prevention could distort research priorities and health spending. However, integration of new genetic information into epidemiological studies can help clarify causal relations between both lifestyle and genetic factors and risks of disease.

Thus, a balanced approach should provide the best data to make informed choices about the most effective means to prevent disease.

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Reference: Science 296, 695 (2002)

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