Human health is highly dependent on genetics, yet it is also known to be affected by factors in an individual’s environment. Statistician Paul Williams, a staff scientist in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division, specializes in investigating the instances where genetics and environment are most closely intertwined. His work focuses on a phenomenon called “quantile-dependent expressivity,” which describes the relationship between the genes that predispose people to certain traits that can be amplified by environmental factors. He has recently published three separate studies on alcohol consumption, weight gain, and lung health that suggest that these facets of health are indeed affected by quantile-dependent expressivity. The findings were generated by analyzing datasets from the Framingham Study – a famous, ongoing health and lifestyle study that collects detailed records of diet, exercise, medication use, and medical history from thousands of families.
Read more in the Berkeley Lab News Center.