Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology
CSPI Podcast
Getting at True Heritability | Alexander Young & Richard Hanania

Getting at True Heritability | Alexander Young & Richard Hanania


Alexander Young is a researcher at the UCLA Anderson School of Management Genomics Department and School of Medicine’s Human Genetics Department, working with the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (SSGAC). He studies the genetics of cognitive ability and educational attainment, with a particular focus on developing methods to uncover true measures of heritability for important traits.

Richard and Alexander talk about why siblings are so useful for this purpose, in the midst of a larger overview of the history of behavioral genetics and modern methods. Twin and adoption studies show much higher levels of heritability than genome wide association studies (GWAS). Why might this be the case? Different theories are discussed, along with ways to solve seeming discrepancies.

The conversation goes on to cover the societal relevance of Alexander’s work, and attempts to isolate research on genes and cognitive ability within the academy.

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