Gene–environment interaction

This norm of reaction shows lines that are not parallel indicating a gene by environment interaction. Each genotype is responding to environmental variation in a different way.
Mean bristle number by °C

When two different genotypes respond to environmental variation in different ways.

- Gene–environment interaction

46 related topics


Environmental factor

Any factor, abiotic or biotic, that influences living organisms.

Cancer is mainly the result of environmental factors
Harvesting crawfish in Acadia Parish, Louisiana.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has invested in technologies supporting exposome-related research including biosensors, and supports research on gene–environment interactions.


Basic unit of heredity and a sequence of nucleotides in DNA that encodes the synthesis of a gene product, either RNA or protein.

Gregor Mendel
Fluorescent microscopy image of a human female karyotype, showing 23 pairs of chromosomes. The DNA is stained red, with regions rich in housekeeping genes further stained in green. The largest chromosomes are around 10 times the size of the smallest.
Schematic of a single-stranded RNA molecule illustrating a series of three-base codons. Each three-nucleotide codon corresponds to an amino acid when translated to protein
Protein coding genes are transcribed to an mRNA intermediate, then translated to a functional protein. RNA-coding genes are transcribed to a functional non-coding RNA.
Inheritance of a gene that has two different alleles (blue and white). The gene is located on an autosomal chromosome. The white allele is recessive to the blue allele. The probability of each outcome in the children's generation is one quarter, or 25 percent.
A sequence alignment, produced by ClustalO, of mammalian histone proteins
Evolutionary fate of duplicate genes.
Depiction of numbers of genes for representative plants (green), vertebrates (blue), invertebrates (orange), fungi (yellow), bacteria (purple), and viruses (grey). An inset on the right shows the smaller genomes expanded 100-fold area-wise.
Gene functions in the minimal genome of the synthetic organism, Syn 3.
Comparison of conventional plant breeding with transgenic and cisgenic genetic modification.

Most biological traits are under the influence of polygenes (many different genes) as well as gene–environment interactions.


Mental disorder characterized by continuous or relapsing episodes of psychosis.

Cloth embroidered by a person diagnosed with schizophrenia
My Eyes at the Moment of the Apparitions by German artist August Natterer, who had schizophrenia
Risperidone (trade name Risperdal) is a common atypical antipsychotic medication.
Deaths per million persons due to schizophrenia in 2012.
The term "schizophrenia" was coined by Eugen Bleuler.
A molecule of chlorpromazine, the first antipsychotic developed in the 1950s
John Nash, an American mathematician and joint recipient of the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, who had schizophrenia. His life was the subject of the 1998 book, A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar.

Schizophrenia is described as a neurodevelopmental disorder with no precise boundary, or single cause, and is thought to develop from gene–environment interactions with involved vulnerability factors.


Degenerate repeat polymorphic region in SLC6A4, the gene that codes for the serotonin transporter.

The serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) with the 5-HTTLPR is located on chromosome 17.
Klaus-Peter Lesch, 2014: a 5-HTTLPR researcher
Molecular neuroimaging studies may use PET scanners such as this type for examining the effect of the 5-HTTLPR genotypes on serotonin transporter binding in the human brain.

While often discussed as an example of gene-environment interaction, this contention is contested.

Lancelot Hogben

British experimental zoologist and medical statistician.

Hogben's appeal to this interdependence of nature and nurture marked the first time gene-environment interaction (or 'gene-environment interplay') was used to undermine statistical attempts to partition the contributions of nature and nurture, as well as the eugenic implications drawn from those statistics.

Polygenic score

Number that summarizes the estimated effect of many genetic variants on an individual's phenotype, typically calculated as a weighted sum of trait-associated alleles.

An illustration of the distribution and stratification ability of a polygenic risk score. The left panel shows how in the predictions of disease risk, the PRS on the x-axis, can separate cases (i.e. people with the diseases) from the controls (people without the disease). The y-axis describes how many in each group are assigned a certain PRS. To the right, the same population is divided into three groups according to the predicted risk, their assigned PRS. The observed risk is shown on the y-axis and the separation of the groups is in correspondence with the predicted risks.
An early (2006) example of a genetic risk score applied to Type 2 Diabetes in humans. Individuals with Type 2 diabetes (white bars) have a higher score than controls (black bars).
Predicted vs actual height using a polygenic risk score
PGS predictor performance increases with the dataset sample size available for training. Here illustrated for hypertension, hypothyroidism and type 2 diabetes. The x-axis labels number of cases (i.e. individuals with the disease) present in the training data and uses a logarithmic scale. The entire range is from 1,000 cases up to over 100,000 cases. The numbers of controls (i.e. individuals without the disease) in the training data were much larger than the numbers of cases. These particular predictors were trained using the LASSO algorithm.

Additionally, a polygenic score can be used in several different ways: as a lower bound to test whether heritability estimates may be biased; as a measure of genetic overlap of traits (genetic correlation), which might indicate e.g. shared genetic bases for groups of mental disorders; as a means to assess group differences in a trait such as height, or to examine changes in a trait over time due to natural selection indicative of a soft selective sweep (as e.g. for intelligence where the changes in frequency would be too small to detect on each individual hit but not on the overall polygenic score); in Mendelian randomization (assuming no pleiotropy with relevant traits); to detect & control for the presence of genetic confounds in outcomes (e.g. the correlation of schizophrenia with poverty); or to investigate gene–environment interactions and correlations

Restoration ecology

Scientific study supporting the practice of ecological restoration, which is the practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats in the environment by active human interruption and action.

Recently constructed wetland regeneration in Australia, on a site previously used for agriculture
Rehabilitation of a portion of Johnson Creek, to restore bioswale and flood control functions of the land which had long been converted to pasture for cow grazing. The horizontal logs can float, but are anchored by the posts. Just-planted trees will eventually stabilize the soil. The fallen trees with roots jutting into the stream are intended to enhance wildlife habitat. The meandering of the stream is enhanced here by a factor of about three times, perhaps to its original course.
Ecosystem restoration for the superb parrot on an abandoned railway line in Australia
Forest restoration in action at the Buffelsdraai Landfill Site Community Reforestation Project in South Africa
Restored prairie at the West Eugene Wetlands in Eugene, Oregon

Similarly, a suite of new methods are surveying gene-environment interactions in order to identify the optimum source populations based on genetic adaptation to environmental conditions.

Quantitative genetics

Quantitative genetics deals with phenotypes that vary continuously (in characters such as height or mass)—as opposed to discretely identifiable phenotypes and gene-products (such as eye-colour, or the presence of a particular biochemical).

Gene effects and Phenotype values.
Analysis of Sexual reproduction.
Population mean across all values of p, for various d effects.
Genetic Drift example analysis.
Random fertilization compared to Cross-fertilization
Spatial fertilization patterns
Analysis of Allele Substitution
Components of Genotypic variance using the gene-model effects.
Components of Genotypic variance using the allele-substitution effects.
Connection between the inbreeding and co-ancestry coefficients.
Illustrative pedigree.
Cross-multiplication rules.
Inbreeding in sibling relationships
Inbreeding from Full-sib and Half-sib crossing, and from Selfing.
Self fertilization inbreeding
Pedigree analysis First cousins
Pedigree analysis Second cousins
Inbreeding from several levels of cousin crossing.
Pedigree analysis: Backcrossing
Backcrossing: basic inbreeding levels
Genetic advance and Selection pressure repeated
Changes arising from repeated selection
Selection differential and the Normal Distribution
Reproductive coefficients of determination and Inbreeding
Path analysis of sexual reproduction.
Sources of attribute correlation.

Phenotypic variance = genotypic variances + environmental variances + genotype-environment interaction + experimental "error" variance

Evolutionary developmental psychology

Research paradigm that applies the basic principles of evolution by natural selection, to understand the development of human behavior and cognition.


It involves the study of both the genetic and environmental mechanisms that underlie the development of social and cognitive competencies, as well as the epigenetic (gene-environment interactions) processes that adapt these competencies to local conditions.

Human behaviour genetics

Interdisciplinary subfield of behaviour genetics that studies the role of genetic and environmental influences on human behaviour.

Francis Galton

It has evolved to address more complex questions such as: how important are genetic and/or environmental influences on various human behavioural traits; to what extent do the same genetic and/or environmental influences impact the overlap between human behavioural traits; how do genetic and/or environmental influences on behaviour change across development; and what environmental factors moderate the importance of genetic effects on human behaviour (gene-environment interaction).