Socio-Genomic Research Using Genome-Wide Molecular Data

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Recent advances in molecular genetics have provided social scientists with new tools with which to explore human behavior. By deploying genomic analysis, we can now explore long-term patterns of human migration and mating, explore the biological aspects of important sociological outcomes such as educational attainment, and, most importantly, model gene-by-environment interaction effects. The intuition motivating much socio-genomic research is that to have a more complete understanding of social life, scholars must take into consideration both nature and nurture as well as their interplay. Most promising is gene-by-environment research that deploys polygenic measures of genotype as a prism through which to refract and detect heterogenous treatment effects of plausibly exogenous environmental influences. This article reviews much recent work in this vein and argues for a broader integration of genomic data into social inquiry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-299
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual Review of Sociology
StatePublished - Jul 30 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Assortative mating
  • Behavior genetics
  • Biosociology
  • Race
  • Social stratification
  • Socio-genomics


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