Genes, Height, and Complexity

A new study published in Nature suggests that, while height definitely has a strong genetic component, the contribution of genes to height is far from simple. See the report here, via Scientific American: Complex Genetic Trait Research Reaches New Heights

Height has a lot to do with genetics. If your parents don’t need a step stool to reach the top shelf, you’re probably right up there, too. About 80 percent of height is due to DNA. The rest depends on diet and other environmental factors.

In the new study, researchers analyzed DNA from more than 180,000 people, looking for genetic differences that dictate height. The scientists, part of a consortium called the Genetic Investigation of Anthropocentric Traits (or GIANT), found 180 gene regions that govern how tall we get….

Presumably this is informative to people who were either excited, or worried, about the prospect of gene therapy being used someday by parents who wanted to give their kids the advantage of a little extra height.


About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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