Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nurture vs. Nature

The nurture vs. nature debate may soon be getting new contributions:

From The New York Times:

The problem is that where genes are tidy bits of DNA, the environment is huge, amorphous and hard to quantify. It includes what your mother ate for breakfast when she was pregnant with you, the colds you’ve had, and how much you were hugged when you were a baby. Vaccinations, exposure to dirt, whether you sleep in a dark room — these are all part of your environment too. Complicating matters further, in different environments, different sets of genes get switched on and off. Recent experiments looking at fat, sedentary laboratory rats showed that they use a completely different portion of their genome from their thinner, more active counterparts.

Measuring all this sounds impossible. Yet at least two phenomics initiatives are already underway. One is the U.K.’s Biobank project, the other is the Personal Genome Project, led by the latter-day polymath George Church. The aim of both projects is to collect large quantities of information — genetic, phenotypic and environmental — from large numbers of people, in an attempt to understand how genes and environment interact to produce each of us.

Read the rest here.

MR

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2010/06/nurture-vs-nature.html

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