Inheritance and regression toward the mean in heterogeneous cell populations

J. W. Gamel, D. E. Axelrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Abstract. Traits such as birth size and lifetime can vary widely even among non‐mutated progeny of the same cell proliferating in the same environment. On the other hand, population parameters of these traits may remain stable over many generations, and there may be a distinct inheritance of these traits from mother to daughters. We have reconsidered the implication of mother‐daughter correlations in light of linear regression analysis. It is proposed that a non‐mutant cell whose phenotype deviates from the population mean produces progeny whose rate of regression toward the mean is proportional to 1‐r, where r is the mother‐daughter correlation coefficient of the trait under study. Theoretical support for this proposition is derived from linear regression analysis. Empirical support is found in pedigree analysis of cell growth constants among NIH3T3 mouse fibroblast cells, where the presence of an activated human ras oncogene is associated with a decreased r and an increased rate at which the growth constants of progeny regress toward the population mean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-292
Number of pages12
JournalCell Proliferation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology

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