Can genetics help explain why some people make more money than others?

4-18-2019 university graduates pa
Image: Independent

The UK Biobank is the single largest public genetic repository in the world… . But when David Hill, a statistical geneticist at the University of Edinburgh, went poring through that data, he wasn’t looking for a cure for cancer … . He was trying to figure out why some people make more money than others.

His team then used these regions to compute a polygenic score, a genetic calculation that predicts a person’s odds of reaching a certain outcome—of, say, developing diabetes or earning six figures. It didn’t perform particularly well, correctly forecasting only 2.5 percent of the differences in income in an independent sample of Scots. “Your DNA will not print you money,” says Hill.

Related article:  Understanding the genetics of height—and why it matters in the fight against many human disorders

Hill and like-minded colleagues are working on a science they call sociogenomics. … A “genetic income score” could allow economists and epidemiologists to more precisely investigate fundamental questions about inequality. … In some places, it could be spun as a powerful argument for radical resource redistribution.

Then there are the dystopian outcomes. Prospective employers could ask you to submit your genetic income score as part of a job application. Health and life insurers could use it to calculate your premiums. Social programs might use it as disqualifying criteria for receiving benefits.

Read full, original post: Researchers want to link your genes and income – should they?

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