Article ID: CBB310359830

Implications of the apportionment of human genetic diversity for the apportionment of human phenotypic diversity (2015)


Researchers in many fields have considered the meaning of two results about genetic variation for concepts of “race.” First, at most genetic loci, apportionments of human genetic diversity find that worldwide populations are genetically similar. Second, when multiple genetic loci are examined, it is possible to distinguish people with ancestry from different geographical regions. These two results raise an important question about human phenotypic diversity: To what extent do populations typically differ on phenotypes determined by multiple genetic loci? It might be expected that such phenotypes follow the pattern of similarity observed at individual loci. Alternatively, because they have a multilocus genetic architecture, they might follow the pattern of greater differentiation suggested by multilocus ancestry inference. To address the question, we extend a well-known classification model of Edwards (2003) by adding a selectively neutral quantitative trait. Using the extended model, we show, in line with previous work in quantitative genetics, that regardless of how many genetic loci influence the trait, one neutral trait is approximately as informative about ancestry as a single genetic locus. The results support the relevance of single-locus genetic-diversity partitioning for predictions about phenotypic diversity.

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Authors & Contributors
Merlin, Francesca
Ronan Le Roux
Fabrizio Rufo
Margaret H. Friedel
Fullilove, Courtney
D. Mark Stafford Smith
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Social Studies of Science
Science as Culture
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Perspectives on Science
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
University of North Carolina Press
University of Minnesota Press
University of Chicago Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Éditions du Seuil
Biological diversity; biodiversity
Molecular biology
Variation (biology)
Science and politics
Human population genetics
Wilson, Edward Osborne
Waddington, Conrad Hal
Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Antoine Pierre de Monet de
Jacob, François
Dobzhansky, Theodosius
Wiener, Norbert
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
19th century
Human Genome Project
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) (Australia)

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