PRC Brown Bag Nov. 17: Philipp Koellinger Presents "Integrating Genetic Data into the Social Sciences"

Tue, November 14, 2017
PRC Brown Bag Nov. 17: Philipp Koellinger Presents
Philipp Koellinger presents Nov. 17 at the PRC Brown Bag.

The PRC welcomes Phillipp Koellinger from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam / Erasmus University to our Brown Bag. He will present "Integrating Genetic Data into the Social Sciences."

Friday, November 17, 2017 | CLA 1.302E

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Abstract: Virtually all human traits have been shown to be at least partially influenced by genetic factors. This includes many aspects of heterogeneity that are relevant to social scientists such as educational attainment, income, risk tolerance, and occupational choice. If the genetic architecture of social-scientific outcomes would be known, scientists could use that information to (i) gain a more complete understanding of environmental effects, (ii) study the interaction of environmental and inherited factors, (iii) identify causal effects in non-experimental data, and (iv) speed-up medical research. However, social scientific outcomes are genetically complex traits that are influenced by thousands of different genes. Each of these genes tend to have only tiny effects, which makes them difficult to identify. Yet, the effects of all genes combined can account for a substantial share of variation of these outcomes in the population. We established the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (SSGAC – http://www.thessgac.org) to pool genetic data and expertise from ≈100 research centers around the globe with the goal to enable statistically well-powered analyses in extremely large samples. This infrastructure allows us to identify replicable genetic associations on social-scientific outcomes. The results of this work are beginning to bear fruits in social-scientific and medical research. As an empirical example, we will focus on a large-scale genome-wide association study on educational attainment. We used the results of this study to identify gene-environment interactions, to elucidate the relationship between body height and educational attainment, and to gain new insights into cognitive and mental health. 

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