People don’t mate randomly – but the flawed assumption that they do is an essential part of many studies linking genes to diseases and traits

Sun, 8 Jan 2023 04:09:40 +1100

Andrew Pam <xanni [at]>

Andrew Pam

"The idea that correlation does not imply causation is a fundamental caveat in
epidemiological research. A classic example involves a hypothetical link
between ice cream sales and drownings – instead of increased ice cream
consumption causing more people to drown, it’s plausible that a third variable,
summer weather, is driving up an appetite for ice cream and swimming, and hence
opportunities to drown.

But what about correlations involving genes? How can researchers be sure that a
particular trait or disease is truly genetically linked, and not caused by
something else?

We are statistical geneticists who study the genetic and nongenetic factors
that influence human variation. In our recently published research, we found
that the genetic links between traits found in many studies might not be
connected by genes at all. Instead, many are a result of how humans mate."

Via Muse, who wrote "I hate saying this. I read this interesting article
because I liked the picture."

       *** Xanni ***
--               Andrew Pam                 Chief Scientist, Xanadu            Partner, Glass Wings               Manager, Serious Cybernetics

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