Polygenic Science, Ethics, and Policy

Genetic association studies identify differences in DNA that are associated with differences in traits. Diagnosis of depression, BMI, and behavioral traits are just some examples of the traits that are being studied. Polygenic scores sum up the effects of these genetic differences (known as variants) to give an indication of how an individual’s risk compares to that of others. 

The Center is launching a project looking at some of the ethical and policy dimensions of genetic association studies and polygenic scores. The current focus is on an interdisciplinary conversation dedicated to clarifying how we do and should use the concepts of population and ancestry in connection with genetic association studies.