What is heritability anyhow?

| | December 23, 2013
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder and autism have all had recent attention for being “genetically caused.” In scientific research, being genetically caused usually corresponds to having a high estimated heritability.

But what exactly is heritability? What does it mean when researchers and journalists label traits like these as genetic?

The nature-nurture debate historically referred to the disagreement between whether traits are caused by ones biology (nature) or the environment (nurture).

These days, disagreements centre on how much nature or nurture contributes. Nature – now usually referring to genes – may be more of a cause of schizophrenia, even though both genes and environment contribute.

Read the full, original story: Explainer: what is heritability?

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