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THURSDAY Biostatistical Seminar: Morten Valberg

Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 14:30

Speaker: Morten Valberg, Researcher/Postdoc, Oslo Center for Biostatistics and Epidemiology (OCBE), University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital

Title: Inequality in genetic cancer risk suggests bad genes rather than bad luck

Abstract: Heritability is often estimated by decomposing the variance of a trait into genetic and other factors. Interpreting such variance decompositions, however, is not straightforward. In particular, there is an ongoing debate on the importance of genetic factors in cancer development,   even   though   heritability   estimates   exist.   Here   we   show   that   heritability estimates contain information on the distribution of absolute risk due to genetic differences. The approach relies on the assumptions underlying the conventional heritability of liability model. We also suggest a model unrelated to heritability estimates. By applying these strategies, we describe the distribution of absolute genetic risk for 15 common cancers. We highlight the considerable inequality in genetic risk of cancer using different metrics, e.g., the Gini Index and quantile ratios which are frequently used in economics. For all these cancers, the estimated inequality in genetic risk is larger than the inequality in income in the USA.

See also paper available at

Organizer: Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology (OCBE), Research group in Statistics and Biostatistics, Dept. of Mathematics, UiO and Big Insight


Domus Medica, room 2180 (outside the Department of Nutrition, second floor of DM)

Earlier Event: October 31
BigInsight Day 2017: October 31
Later Event: November 8
Wednesday Lunch: Dirck Hesse