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Some implications of chaos theory for the genetic analysis of human development and variation

  • Lindon J Eaves (a1), Katherine M Kirk (a2), Nicholas G Martin (a3) and Robert J Russell (a4)

Abstract

Non-linear epigenetic processes are a potential underlying source of phenotypic differences in development. Simulation studies of twin pairs using simple non-linear development models characterised by chaotic or near-chaotic behavior are presented. The effect of chaotic processes on correlations is to lower them from their initial values, but high initial correlations are affected much less by chaotic and near-chaotic processes than intermediate correlations. Therefore, we would predict that traits affected by chaotic processes would have high MZ and low DZ twin correlations and this is reminiscent of certain traits such as EEG spectra. However the much more frequent observation of MZ correlations close to twice their DZ counterparts would suggest that the role of chaos in development is quite limited.

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Corresponding author

*Correspondence: Dr KM Kirk, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Post Office, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane QLD 4029, Australia. Tel: + 61 7 3362 0272; Fax: + 61 7 3362 0101;

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Some implications of chaos theory for the genetic analysis of human development and variation

  • Lindon J Eaves (a1), Katherine M Kirk (a2), Nicholas G Martin (a3) and Robert J Russell (a4)

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