Big Data Analysis Estimates Genetic & Environmental Contributions to Phenotype
The contributions of genes and environmental factors to health and disease are difficult to determine with typical biomedical human research studies. Phenotypes, environmental conditions, and genetic makeup are rarely measured in simultaneously, usually differ between studies, or the studies lack sufficient sample size. These limitations hinder the ability to consistently identify factors associated with health and disease processes. Large health insurance data of (i) twin and non-twin siblings and (ii) environmental factors (socioeconomic factors, air quality, and average temperature) mined from public domain data through zip codes were used to estimate the genetic and environmental (respectively) influences to 560 phenotypes. Even with limitations noted by the authors (https://tinyurl.com/y4k9sv7e), this report demonstrated how health (insurance records) and public domain (through zip codes) data can be used to estimate heritability, overall shared environmental conditions, and the three specific factors contributing to disease.