Interactions between polygenic scores and environments: Methodological and conceptual challenges

Benjamin W. Domingue, Sam Trejo, Emma Armstrong-Carter, Elliot M. Tucker-Drob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Interest in the study of gene-environment interaction has recently grown due to the sudden availability of molecular genetic data-in particular, polygenic scores-in many long-running longitudinal studies. Identifying and estimating statistical interactions comes with several analytic and inferential challenges; these challenges are heightened when used to integrate observational genomic and social science data. We articulate some of these key challenges, provide new perspectives on the study of gene-environment interactions, and end by offering some practical guidance for conducting research in this area. Given the sudden availability of well-powered polygenic scores, we anticipate a substantial increase in research testing for interaction between such scores and environments. The issues we discuss, if not properly addressed, may impact the enduring scientific value of gene-environment interaction studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-486
Number of pages22
JournalSociological Science
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


  • Gene-environment interaction
  • Polygenic score


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