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Is your future income written in your DNA?

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A newly published paper makes the claim that variation in people’s income can be partly traced to variations in their genes. Indeed, it identifies over a hundred specific genetic variants that are statistically associated with income in a large sample of people derived from the UK Biobank. To some, this idea is frankly preposterous – a na├»ve and outrageous over-reach of genetic determinism and reductionism, with strains of social Darwinism. To others, it is completely expected – not trivial, in terms of the work involved, but certainly not at all surprising and not so earth-shattering in terms of social implications.
The devil is in the details, of course, of the methodology and the results, and, importantly, the way they are presented and interpreted.
The idea that something like a person’s income could be partly heritable – that is, that variation in income across the population could be partly attributable to genetic differences between people – is in fact, not new at all and reall…