7th Ocober 2021: Research seminar - Davide Serpico: Quantitative Traits in Psychiatry and the Concept of Threshold
We have the pleasure to invite you to a research seminar in the ‘BIOUNCERTAINTY’ research project. The main talk on this week's seminar will be “Quantitative Traits in Psychiatry and the Concept of Threshold" and it will be delivered by Davide Serpico. The seminar will take place on Thursday, 7th of October 2021 at 5:30PM in room 25 in the Institute of Philosophy of Jagiellonian University, Grodzka 52, Cracow.Abstract: A classical aim of genetics research is to predict the development of traits and diseases based on information about individual genotypes. While reliable predictions can be made about so-called monogenic traits and rare Mendelian diseases, the same does not apply to quantitative traits and complex diseases, as they involve many genetic plus environmental influences. Over time, the domains of Mendelian genetics and quantitative genetics diverged from each other, becoming associated with the study of two different types of traits (qualitative/quantitative, simple/complex, Mendelian/biometrical, respectively), each of which relates to different characterisations of the genotype-phenotype relationship and different predictive methodologies. In this talk, I argue that the distinction between qualitative and quantitative traits generates theoretical and practical issues in biomedical genetics. As a case study, I focus on schizophrenia – and mental disorders more generally – and show that both qualitative and quantitative conceptualisations come with inconsistencies. In particular, I shall discuss one major question arising from current characterisations of mental disorders as quantitative traits, namely, whether the distinction between health and disease involves conventional or biological thresholds. Addressing the question would help enhance medical decision-making, which risks being impaired by theoretical uncertainty in genetics and misleading conceptualisations of phenotypic development.