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Genetic association studies have the potential to provide a valuable insight into disease mechanisms. However, many studies submitted to journals such as Thorax are underpowered or poorly designed. This has led to a number of journals providing guidance to investigators regarding the design of studies which would be considered for publication within the journal. In the editorial which follows we provide some guidance on the key issues which should be considered in assessing the validity of genetic association studies in respiratory disease. While Thorax will always consider manuscripts which contain informative original research, in general it is unlikely that papers which do not conform to the guidance given in the accompanying editorial will be acceptable for publication unless extenuating circumstances exist.