, Volume 99, Issue 2-3, pp 109-112

Heritability: uses and abuses

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Abstract

This paper begins with a brief summary of the history of the development of ideas in the field of quantitative genetics. Next there is discussion of the controversy surrounding the contention that IQ tests validly estimate some highly heritable general intelligence factor. The validity of the reasoning supporting this contention is questioned. The theory of correlation between relatives has been of vast importance in plant and animal breeding because it is possible to design and carry out experiments to estimate variance components in expressions for covariances between relatives. However, data on humans is observational and individuals are not randomly assigned to environments, so that estimation of heritability from such data is not on the same firm foundation as it is in plant and animal breeding contexts.

This revised version was published online in August 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.