detect relationships of genes <to> phenotypes

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NewAmerica

Banned
Mandarin
I have no clue of the meaning of the "to" here. Does "relationships of genes to phenotypes" mean "relationships between genes and phenotypes"? Or does it mean "relationships between genes (and these relationships have impact on) phenotypes"? Well, here is a mess to me.

What does "to" mean then?

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The genetics of schizophrenia have predominately been studied in populations of European and Asian descent. However, studies in Africans, who host the greatest degree of human genetic diversity, have lagged. Examining the exomes of more than 1800 Xhosa individuals from South Africa, about half of which have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Gulsuner et al. identified both rare and common genetic variants associated with the disease. They found that the genetic architecture of schizophrenia in Africans generally reflects that of Europeans but that the greater genetic variation in Africa provides more power to detect relationships of genes to phenotypes.

Source: Science 31 Jan 2020
Genetics of schizophrenia in the South African Xhosa | Science
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    It looks wrong to me, and the same wording is included in the body of the report. The simplest explanation is that the writer has chosen the wrong preposition - something that is easy to do in English - and perhaps "with" would be better, but I prefer your "...between...and...".

    Incidentally, do you know what is meant by phenotype here? Is it referring to conditions like schizophrenia or does it refer to being visibly African or Nordic (the Xhosa data was compared with data from Sweden)? My guess is the former, but I have not heard the word used like this before.
     

    NewAmerica

    Banned
    Mandarin
    A phenotype is simply the physical expression of genes. And schzophrenia is one of such expressions.

    Thank you.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    "To" is fine. A particular group of genes leads to a phenotype. The genetic diversity in Africa gives more variety in groups of genes and that variety gives better discrimination in determining how particular gene combinations relate to a particular phenotype.

    It's a normal use of "relate to". You could paraphrase the original sentence as "provides more power to detect associations between genes and phenotypes".
     
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