The Limitations of Heritability Estimates: A Review
Heritability estimates are commonly used to measure the proportion of phenotypic variation attributable to genetic variation within a population. Despite its wide usage, heritability estimates have some limitations which should be considered before interpreting the results. One limitation of heritability estimates is that they do not account for environmental factors. As argued by Forbes (2019), heritability estimates only measure the relative contribution of genetic factors while environmental influences on phenotypic outcomes are not taken into account, thus providing a limited picture of the relative influence of genetics and environment. Additionally, heritability estimates can only be applied to specific populations, as the genetic and environmental influences on phenotype can differ depending on the population under study (Vinkhuyzen et al., 2016). The results of heritability estimates in one population cannot be extrapolated to other populations and may be misleading if used in this way. Furthermore, heritability estimates measure the aggregate variability of a trait within a population, and thus do not provide insights into individual differences (Jung, 2020). Finally, in some cases, heritability estimates may be unreliable or overestimated due to the use of inappropriate methods or incorrect assumptions (Cote et al., 2021). Cont….
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