Linking Gulf War Illness to Genome Instability, Somatic Evolution, and Complex Adaptive Systems
Gulf War illness (GWI) is a chronic multi-symptom disorder impacting one-third of veterans of the 1991 Gulf War. Despite a rapid accumulation of experimental data from various fields, there is no commonly accepted mechanism of this condition. Both the complex etiology and diverse symptoms of GWI have complicated its clinical diagnoses and treatments. By comparing GWI to many other common and complex diseases, we realized that a better way to study GWI is to consider it as a complex adaptive system that follows the principles of somatic evolution. In this presentation, we share our story of identifying the “Gulf War-specific-stress-induced” and “genome instability-mediated” common mechanisms of GWI. Our analyses are useful for explaining the linkage between the diverse features of GWI and elevated genome instability, which further suggest a possible framework of genome alteration-mediated somatic evolution to understand common and complex diseases in general.
This article is part of a series of studies entitled “The mechanisms of somatic cell and organismal evolution.” This work was supported by a grant from the DOD (GW093028).
- 1.Research Advisory Committee. Gulf War illness and the health of Gulf War veterans: scientific findings and recommendations. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2008.Google Scholar
- 4.Craddock TJ, Harvey JM, Nathanson L, Barnes ZM, Klimas NG, Fletcher MA, Broderick G. Using gene expression signatures to identify novel treatment strategies in Gulf War illness. BMC Med Genomics 2015;8:36.Google Scholar
- 6.White RF, Steele L, O’Callaghan JP, Sullivan K, Binns JH, Golomb BA, Bloom FE, Bunker JA, Crawford F, Graves JC, Hardie A, Klimas N, Knox M, Meggs WJ, Melling J, Philbert MA, Grashow R. Recent research on Gulf War illness and other health problems in veterans of the 1991 Gulf War: effects of toxicant exposures during deployment. Cortex 2016;74:449–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 7.Liu G, Ye CJ, Chowdhury SK, Abdallah BY, Horne SD, Nichols D, Heng HH. Detecting chromosome condensation defects in Gulf War illness patients. Cur Genomics 2018 (in press).Google Scholar
- 9.Heng HH. Debating cancer: the paradox in cancer research. Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific; 2015.Google Scholar
- 11.Discovery Channel. Discovery channel in 2007: Gulf War illness-conspiracy test. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhvdkdMFVJQ.
- 16.Heng HH, Ye CJ, Yang F, Ebrahim S, Liu G, Bremer SW, Thomas CM, Ye J, Chen TJ, Tuck-Miller C, Yu JW, Krawetz SA, Johnson A. Analysis of marker or complex chromosomal rearrangements present in pre- and post-natal karyotypes utilizing a combination of G-banding, spectral karyotyping and fluorescence in situ hybridization. Clin Genet. 2003;63(5):358–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 18.Ye CJ, Stevens JB, Liu G, Bremer SW, Jaiswal AS, Ye KJ, Lin MF, Lawrenson L, Lancaster WD, Kurkinen M, Liao JD, Gairola CG, Shekhar MP, Narayan S, Miller FR, Heng HH. Genome based cell population heterogeneity promotes tumorigenicity: the evolutionary mechanism of cancer. J Cell Physiol. 2009;219(2):288–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 20.Horne SD, Ye CJ, Heng HH. Chromosomal instability (CIN) in cancer. eLS 2015;1–9.Google Scholar
- 35.Heng HH, Horne SD, Stevens JB, Abdallah BY, Liu G, Chowdhury SK, Bremer SW, Zhang K, Ye CJ. Heterogeneity mediated system complexity: the ultimate challenge for studying common and complex diseases. In: Sturmberg JP, editor. The value of systems and complexity sciences for healthcare. Cham: Springer; 2016. p. 107–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar