Regular Article

Acta Biotheoretica

, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 225-237

First online:

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

  • Omri TalAffiliated withSchool of Philosophy and The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


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.


Heritability Quantitative genetics Probability GxE interaction GE correlation