Genes, Environment, and Race: Quantitative Genetic Approaches
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Understanding the origins of racial health disparities is currently a central focus of health-oriented funding agencies and the health policy community. In particular, the role of genetics in the origin of racial health disparities is receiving growing attention and has been susceptible to considerable misinterpretation. In this article, the authors provide a basic discussion about the concept of genes and race, an introduction to quantitative genetics, and some examples of quantitative genetic analyses of health conditions in an underserved population. The intent is to outline the conceptual limitations of exclusivist views of either environmental or genetic determination and to emphasize the coaction and interaction of genes and environments in health.