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inheritance in which a measurable phenotype is generated by many loci, the contributions of which are statistically independent, additive, and of about equal value. (The latter are in accordance with the classic central limit therein and justify the use of the multivariate normal distribution in galtonian genetics.)
Synonym(s): polygenic inheritance
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
polygenic inheritanceor quantitative inheritance a genetical system in which a number of genes (more than two) is involved in the control of a character, the character being described as ‘quantitative’ in that it shows a wide range of variability that can be measured (see HERITABILITY). Each ‘polygene’ in the system has only a small effect on the character and cannot be detected individually The expression of a polygenic character is strongly affected by the environment in which the individual exists. For example, human height is affected by diet, human intelligence scores are affected by the social background.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005