By Panel for the Workshop on the Biodemography of Fertility and Family Behavior, National Research Council
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That is because parents both pass their genes on to their children and shape and select the rearing environments for them. In addition, families will be open to broader societal, environmentally mediated, influences that can create clustering effects. Sophisticated statistical techniques, such as segregation analyses, that can be applied to family data have often been used to infer modes of genetic transmission. However, they are open to numerous methodological hazards and can easily give rise to misleading conclusions.
Moreover, it is perfectly straightforward to include these in any overall model. There is a need to consider such effects, but their likely existence for some traits is not a justifiable reason for doubting behavior genetics. Gene-Environment Interplay A somewhat similar issue arises with respect to assortative mating, gene-environment correlations, and gene-environment interactions. Again, old-style traditional genetic analyses have usually made the assumption that none of these are sufficiently operative to warrant being taken into account.
For all these reasons, it is not likely that adoptee studies will have a major place in the study of fertility, and because, so far as I am aware, there have been no adoptee studies that are relevant, these designs will not be considered further here. Evolutionary Considerations If only because the theory of evolution is based on natural selection for reproductive fitness, it is necessary to consider how evolutionary theory might inform the quantitative genetic study of fertility. Indeed, as other chapters in this volume illustrate, it does include most useful pointers as to GENETIC INFLUENCES ON FERTILITY 29 what might be relevant and also what sorts of mechanisms may need to be considered.