Airbrushing Heritability

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Douglas Wahlsten, Visiting Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Genetics and Human Behaviour: The Ethical Context by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (2002) is the outcome of an extensive review of quantitative genetic studies conducted by a working party of 13 scholars in the United Kingdom that was based on their own reading of the scientific literature as well as interviews and consultations with 40 experts in behavior genetics and opinions submitted by 44 interested organizations and 64 individuals, mostly academics. After reviewing the history of behavior genetics and its relationship with eugenics, the document introduces the reader to the methods of heritability and linkage analysis, touches briefly on animal models and then presents a review focused on the quantitative genetics of intelligence, personality, antisocial behavior and sexual orientation. Much of the document appears to be a one-sided defense of heritability analysis, in which the many critics of that approach have no voice. The document states that: ‘Estimates of heritability and other statistical techniques are useful in understanding the relative contribution of different types of influence.’ (p. xxiii). Finally, there is a lengthy discussion of the practical policy implications of behavior genetic research.

Additional Information

Genes, Brain and Behavior, 2: 327-329.
Language: English
Date: 2003
Eugenics, Genetics, Heritability, Reproduction, Critical response

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