Showing posts from April, 2019

Missing heritability found safe and well

The case of the ‘missing heritability’ has become celebrated, by some, as a supposed indicator of just how abjectly the Human Genome Project has failed to live up to its promise. We’ve known for a long time that many human traits and common disorders are quite heritable. The HGP was supposed to reveal the underlying genetic causes, paving the way for deeper understanding and new therapies. But genetics seemed to keep coming up short, finding some causal variants but leaving most of the heritability unexplained, or ‘missing’. A new study (along with a lot of supporting theory and other empirical evidence) shows that the answer lies in genetic variants that are much rarer in the population than those that had typically been studied.
It is common knowledge that many human traits run in families, as does risk of common disorders like heart disease, asthma, or mental illness. People resemble their relatives, not just p…