Nothing reliable about genes or environment: new perspectives on analysis of similarity among relatives in light of the possibility of underlying heterogeneity
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 40 (3):210-220 (2009)
Despite the long history of scientific, philosophical, and political debate around heritability studies, certain fundamental conceptual issues have not been recognized or well appreciated. The starting point is that heritability does not measure the degree of influence that genes have on a trait or provide a reliable basis for choosing which traits to investigate further with molecular genetic research. The short argument on this point revolves around two issues: the disconnect between analyzing measurements of a trait and exposing the measurable genetic and environmental factors underlying the trait’s development; and the possibility of heterogeneity in these underlying factors, that is, different factors may lead to the same trait value. The idea of underlying heterogeneity is elaborated through schematic diagrams and distinguished from other senses of heterogeneity. Five conceptually distinct approaches for addressing underlying heterogeneity are identified, corresponding to distinct ways of managing the reciprocal relationship between the degree of knowledge of the dynamics through which the trait develops and the actions that can be reliably be based on what is known . This framework, which extends the interventionist notion of causality, allows the scope and limitations of heritability studies to be clarified in greater detail. It can also inform critical appreciation of newer methods of analysis of genetic and environmental factors. The issues discussed in this article do not centre on empirical data or technical detail and should be accessible to non-specialists as well as challenging active researchers
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
Heritability and Heterogeneity: The Limited Relevance of Heritability in Investigating Genetic and Environmental Factors.Peter Taylor - 2006 - Biological Theory 1 (2):150-164.
The Under-Recognized Implications of Heterogeneity: Opportunities for Fresh Views on Scientific, Philosophical, and Social Debates About Heritability.Peter J. Taylor - 2008 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 30 (3/4):431 - 456.
The Unreliability of High Human Heritability Estimates and Small Shared Effects of Growing Up in the Same Family.Peter J. Taylor - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (4):387-397.
Citations of this work BETA
Perspectives From Plant Breeding on Tal's Argument About the Weight of Genetic Versus environmenTal Causes for Individuals.Peter Taylor - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):735-738.
Similar books and articles
A Gene-Free Formulation of Classical Quantitative Genetics Used to Examine Results and Interpretations Under Three Standard Assumptions.Peter J. Taylor - 2012 - Acta Biotheoretica 60 (4):357-378.
Three Puzzles and Eight Gaps: What Heritability Studies and Critical Commentaries Have Not Paid Enough Attention To.Peter Taylor - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (1):1-31.
Genes for Susceptibility to Mental Disorder Are Not Mental Disorder: Clarifying the Target of Evolutionary Analysis and the Role of the Environment.Nicholas B. Allen & Paul B. T. Badcock - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):405-406.
Underlying Heterogeneity: A Problem for Biological, Philosophical, and Other Analyses of Heritability?Peter Taylor - 2008 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (4):587-589.
Digging Beneath Rules and Similarity.Arthur B. Markman, Sergey Blok, Kyungil Kim, Levi Larkey, Lisa R. Narvaez, C. Hunt Stilwell & Eric Taylor - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (1):29-30.
What is a Gene? From Molecules to Metaphysics.Holmes Rolston - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (6):471-497.
Measure and Representation of the Genetic Similarity Between Populations by the Percentage of Isoactive Genes.Alicia Sánchez-Mazas, Laurent Excoffier & André Langaney - 1986 - Theoria 2 (1):143-154.
The Genetic Recombination of Science and Religion.Stephen M. Modell - 2010 - Zygon 45 (2):462-468.
Genes Can Disconnect the Social Brain in More Than One Way.André Aleman & René S. Kahn - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):855-855.
Similarity and Dimensional Analysis (Preprint - Entry in Handbook of Philosophy of Science, Elsevier).S. G. Sterrett - 2009 - In Anthonie W. M. Meijers (ed.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Science.
Added to index2010-08-30
Total downloads12 ( #372,884 of 2,158,194 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #356,322 of 2,158,194 )
How can I increase my downloads?