NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms contains technical definitions for more than 200 terms related to genetics. These definitions were developed by the PDQ® Cancer Genetics Editorial Board to support the evidence-based, peer-reviewed PDQ cancer genetics information summaries.

The proportion of variation in a population trait that can be attributed to inherited genetic factors. Heritability estimates range from 0 to 1 and are often expressed as a percentage. A number close to 1 may be indicative of a highly heritable trait within a population. It should not be used to estimate risk on an individual basis.