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Virtual Seminar: Beyond the Medical: Genetic Testing for Social Traits

Friday January 20, 2023, 12:00-1:00pm ET

  • Speakers:
  • Anya Prince, JD, Associate Profesor, College of Law, University of Iowa and Member, University of Iowa Genetics Cluster
  • Jean Cadigan, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Social Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Core Faculty Member, Center for Bioethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


In traditional predictive genetic testing, single gene variants are analyzed to determine whether individuals are at high risk of developing disease. The vast majority of diseases, however, are polygenic—caused by many different genes. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) hold promise to predict risk for complex diseases like heart disease or diabetes by measuring the contribution of hundreds of genetic variants at once. Yet beyond prediction of medical outcomes, the realm of ‘sociogenomics’ is developing polygenic scores (PGS) measuring genetic contributions to social traits and behavioral factors, such as income, educational attainment, sexuality, and optimism. This presentation will present initial findings of a newly-funded NIH grant to study these complex scores.

Sponsored by the UNC Center for Genomics & Societycentercentercgenomics