Bio

Dalton Conley is the Henry Putnam University Professor in Sociology. He earned his PhD in sociology from Columbia University in 1996 and a PhD in Biology (Genomics) from NYU in 2014. His research focuses on how socio-economic status and health are transmitted across generations and on the public policies that affect those processes. He studies sibling differences in socioeconomic success; racial inequalities; the measurement of class; and how health and biology affect (and are affected by) social position. His publications include Being Black, Living in the Red; The Starting Gate; Honky; The Pecking Order; You May Ask Yourself; and Parentology. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Russell Sage Foundation fellowships as well as a CAREER award and the Alan T. Waterman Award of the National Science Foundation.

Project Summary

The Polygenic Score (or PGS) is a novel biotechnology that will shake up how we live and organize society. Simply put, it is a single number obtained from someone's DNA that sums up their genetic potential for a given trait--such as height, weight, risk of schizophrenia or success in school. This technology will not cure cancer (like CRISPR might) or reanimate extinct species (as synthetic biology might). In fact, it is much simpler to produce and understand. Yet, its social impact will be profound. As the polygenic score seeps into the general culture, it will change how we choose our mates, how we reproduce, how insurance markets function, and even how we sort ourselves into schools and jobs. The project will explore the science behind the development and refinement of the PGS as well as its implications for the future of society.

Major Publications

The Genome Factor: What the Social Genomics Revolution Reveals about Our Past, Ourselves and the Future. (with Jason Fletcher). 2017. Princeton University Press
 
The Pecking Order: Which Siblings Succeed and Why. 2004. New York: Pantheon.
 
The Genome Factor: What the Social Genomics Revolution Reveals about Our Past, Ourselves and the Future. (with Jason Fletcher). 2017. Princeton University Press
 

Resources