Acta Biotheoretica

, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 225–237

The Impact of Gene–Environment Interaction and Correlation on the Interpretation of Heritability

Regular Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10441-011-9139-8

Cite this article as:
Tal, O. Acta Biotheor (2012) 60: 225. doi:10.1007/s10441-011-9139-8


The presence of gene–environment statistical interaction (GxE) and correlation (rGE) in biological development has led both practitioners and philosophers of science to question the legitimacy of heritability estimates. The paper offers a novel approach to assess the impact of GxE and rGE on the way genetic and environmental causation can be partitioned. A probabilistic framework is developed, based on a quantitative genetic model that incorporates GxE and rGE, offering a rigorous way of interpreting heritability estimates. Specifically, given an estimate of heritability and the variance components associated with estimates of GxE and rGE, I arrive at a probabilistic account of the relative effect of genes and environment.


HeritabilityQuantitative geneticsProbabilityGxE interactionGE correlation

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Philosophy and The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and IdeasTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael