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James, O. (2014). Not in Your Genes—Time to Accept the Null Hypothesis of the Human Genome Project?. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 8(3):281-296.

(2014). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 8(3):281-296

Not in Your Genes—Time to Accept the Null Hypothesis of the Human Genome Project?

Oliver James

To date, the Human Genome Project (HGP) has found very little difference in specific genes or genetic variants between the mentally ill and the mentally healthy which can explain significant portions of pathological aetiology. It is accepted by all leading genetic psychologists that what differences have been found explain only a tiny (1-5%) amount of mental illness. The likelihood of new genetic variants being discovered now seems small. If whole-genome sequencing is unable to identify higher than the existing 1-5%, it is proposed that the balance of probabilities is in favour of acceptance of the null hypothesis of the HGP: that genes play very little part in explaining why siblings are similar or different. In that event, it should further be accepted that twin study findings of “heritability” are false. What is regarded as heritability in twin studies should be reinterpreted as evidence of shared environment and absence of “heritability” accepted as evidence of non-shared environment. The high likelihood that the HGP has proven the unimportance of genes as a significant cause of mental illness should be taught in schools, universities, and to trainee mental health clinicians.

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