Multigenetic traits in medicine and agriculture

Being able to figure out the correlation between heritable genes and phenotype when the genetics is more complicated and environment plays a role has several benefits. Multigenetic traits are important to the fields of medicine and agriculture, for example.

In agriculture

Most of the characteristics that farmers breed for are quantitative traits, such as the amount of milk a cow produces or how many ears of corn a corn plant produces. To help farmers breed better cows and better corn plants, researchers need to understand what's involved when they start thinking about traits controlled by many genes.

In medicine

Understanding genetic interactions can help scientists sort out the genetics of human disease. For many diseases, the heritable component is not absolute. People say that a disease or condition tends to "run in families" or that you're more likely to have the condition if your recent ancestors had it. Both expressions indicate that you may be predisposed to a particular condition that has a genetic component, but you won't definitely get it. Maybe the ailment appears only under certain environment conditions or only when certain genes interact in a particular way.

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