The Black Cloud of Genetics and Personality

Some of you know that some of us (namely Brent), are more than skeptical about “gene for” studies linking candidate genes to personality and/or any other phenotype.  What you may not know is that Brent is now enthusiastic (for the moment) about gene expression research–the product of genes, not the genes themselves (i.e., RNA).

So, this week Brent re-presented a presentation he gave last week to a group of social scientists and biologists telling the tale of how he went from gene-by-environment enthusiast, to gene-by-environment skeptic, to gene expression enthusiast.  If you are interested in the presentation you can find it here.

If you are interested in reading some of the background literature Gibson’s recent paper gives you the scoop on common versus rare versus infinitesimal models of gene functioning and Munafo & Flint give you the sad news that none of the existing gene association studies in personality psychology should be paid much attention.  Ouch.

On the flip side, Steve Cole gives you the overview of Stress Genomics, which is the new kid on the block, and Miller et al show you how gene expression works.  Let’s hope their fate is unlike the previous 20 years of “gene for” studies which can now be used to line that old bird cage.

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