Preterm birth

Siobhan M. Dolan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Preterm birth (PTB) is a perplexing clinical condition and major public health challenge. In 2006, 12.8% of all births in the United States were preterm, defined as occurring before 37 completed weeks of gestation. Preterm birth is the second leading cause of infant mortality and the leading cause of infant mortality among black infants in the United States, as well as the major contributor to worldwide infant mortality and morbidity. Despite the significant public health burden of PTB, there are few effective strategies to reliably predict or prevent PTB. The etiology of this common complex condition remains elusive. Efforts to identify environmental contributors suggest that smoking, stress, black race, nutritional deficits, and infection contribute to, but do not explain, the majority of PTBs. Therefore, the discovery of predisposing genetic variants and relevant geneenvironment interactions will likely be of great value in unraveling the mystery of PTB, by identifying women at risk and setting the stage for research and enhanced clinical and public health prevention strategies. This chapter discusses gene-disease associations PTBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman Genome Epidemiology
Subtitle of host publicationBuilding the Evidence for Using Genetic Information to Improve Health and Prevent Disease: Second Edition
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199776023
ISBN (Print)9780195398441
StatePublished - May 1 2010


  • Genetic variants
  • Genetic variations
  • Genome-wide studies
  • Human disease
  • Preterm birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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