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Genetics: Gene-Environment Interaction - Summary

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The examples cited here make it clear that conclusions about the effect of a genetic locus must be interpreted cautiously. The detectability, effect size, or even direction of effect may be strongly contingent upon environmental circumstances. It is increasingly clear that the effective genotype—those loci actually being expressed at any given time—may change not only developmentally but also relatively quickly in response to an environmental alteration. It is equally the case that the effect of any environmental influence will depend upon the genotypes of the organisms exposed to that environment. Recognition of the scope for mutuality and reciprocity of genetic and environmental influences is important both for basic understanding of aging processes and for the design and application of interventions intended to extend life span and health span.



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