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  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

In genetics, heritability is the amount of phenotypic variation in a population that is attributable to individual genetic differences. Heritability, in a broad, general sense, is the ratio of variation due to differences among genotypes to the total phenotypic variation for a character or trait in a population. It is expressed as


The range of values for heritability estimates is 0 to 1. If H = 1, then we are able to say that all variation in a population is due to differences or variation among genotypes (i.e., there is no environmentally caused variation). On the other hand, if H = 0, there is no genetic variation. In this case, all variation in the population is from differences in environments during the life experience of individuals. ...

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