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The future of genomics for developmentalists

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 December 2013

Robert Plomin
King's College London
Michael A. Simpson
King's College London
E-mail address:


The momentum of genomic science will carry it far into the future and into the heart of research on typical and atypical behavioral development. The purpose of this paper is to focus on a few implications and applications of these advances for understanding behavioral development. Quantitative genetics is genomic and will chart the course for molecular genomic research now that these two worlds of genetics are merging in the search for many genes of small effect. Although current attempts to identify specific genes have had limited success, known as the missing heritability problem, whole-genome sequencing will improve this situation by identifying all DNA sequence variations, including rare variants. Because the heritability of complex traits is caused by many DNA variants of small effect in the population, polygenic scores that are composites of hundreds or thousands of DNA variants will be used by developmentalists to predict children's genetic risk and resilience. The most far-reaching advance will be the widespread availability of whole-genome sequence for children, which means that developmentalists would no longer need to obtain DNA or to genotype children in order to use genomic information in research or in the clinic.

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The future of genomics for developmentalists
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