PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Dissolving the missing heritability problem

Heritability estimates obtained in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are much lower than those of traditional quantitative methods. This has been called the “missing heritability problem”. By analyzing and comparing these two kinds of methods, we first show that the estimates obtained by traditional methods involve some terms that GWAS do not. Second, the estimates obtained by GWAS do not take into account epigenetic factors transmitted across generations, whilst they are included in the estimates of traditional quantitative methods. Once these two factors are taken into account, we show that the missing heritability problem can be largely dissolved. Finally, we briefly contextualize our analysis within a current discussion on how non-additive factors relate to the heritability estimates in GWAS.

Author Information:

Pierrick Bourrat    
Philosophy Department
The University of Sydney

Qiaoying Lu    
Philosophy Department
Sun Yat-sen University


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