There is a "frustrating" overemphasis on the importance of individual genes for traits or diseases, says Gene Expression's Razib Khan. But there is also an underestimation of the importance of genetics as a whole. "How can these be reconciled? Do not genes and genetics go together?" he asks. The solution to this may be a simple one, he adds — "when you speak of 1,000 genes, you speak of no genes. You can't list 1,000 genes in prose, even if you know them. But using standard quantitative and behavior genetics means one can apportion variation in the population of a trait to variation in genes." In fact, new genomics studies are proving that many complex traits have a "non-trivial heritability," Khan says.
They Go Together
May 16, 2012