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Leveraging the Genome to Evaluate the Impact of the Social Environment

October 1, 2020 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Leveraging the Genome to Evaluate the Impact of the Social Environment

STS Lunch Seminar with Lauren Schmitz

Lauren Schmitz, Assistant Professor, La Follette School of Public Affairs

Thursday, October 1, 12:30-1:30 pm

This event will be virtualhttps://go.wisc.edu/z9b8kk | Meeting ID: 910 1140 4015 | Passcode: 623639

The recent availability of molecular genetic data in large population-representative studies has made it possible to examine the interplay between whole-genome measures of genetic risk and the social environment in ways that were previously only possible in twin or family studies. Research on gene-environment (G x E) interactions—broadly defined as any situation where individual response to environmental risk differs by genotype—has shown genetic risk is amplified, or reduced, in the presence of a particular environment; similarly, the effects of the environment are influenced by the presence or absence of specific genetic susceptibilities. The feedback between “G” and “E” provides social researchers with another lens for understanding how aspects of the social environment may contribute to disparities in health and education across the life course. This talk will present research by Dr. Schmitz that has used polygenic scores (PGSs) and quasi-natural experiments to model G x E interactions in population-representative data. Findings indicate that favorable social conditions or policy environments attenuated population-wide genetic gradients in smoking behavior, obesity, and educational attainment.

Related reading:
Schmitz, L.L. and D. Conley. 2015. The long-term effects of Vietnam-Era conscription and genotype on smoking behavior and health. Behavior Genetics, 46(1): 43-58.

A suggestion for further reading:
Harden, K.P., Koellinger, P.D. Using genetics for social science. Nat Hum Behav 4, 567–576 (2020).

Lauren Schmitz, La Follette School of Public Affairs


October 1, 2020
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
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