Hidden Nook

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Personality Determined By DNA?

[Media Source*]

Researchers have traced social behavior traits, such as monogamy, to differences in the length of seemingly non-functional DNA, sometimes referred to as junk DNA. In the study, researchers at the Yerkes Primate Research Center and the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience examined whether the junk DNA associated with the vasopressin receptor gene affected social behavior in male prairie voles, a rodent species. Previous studies have shown the vasopressin receptor gene regulates social behaviors in many species.

This seems to be nothing more than a rehash of the nurture verses nature debate, although this study seems to have been conducted on a lower species and not human beings. Depending on which scientist a person references, either nature or nurture has dominance over the other, but it seems the only way to "test" this theory is by studying twins.

...many twin studies have made use of identical twins (who have the same genetic makeup) who were raised in differing environments in order to control for genetic effects: that is, any variation between twins is clearly attributable to the environment, allowing the researcher to quantify the effects of the environment by measuring variance of a trait between twins. Identical twins raised separately may have experienced quite different environments; yet many studies have often been found that they live similar lives, have similar personalities and similar levels of intelligence. On the other hand, even identical twins who are raised together often differ in significant ways.

This debate will probably never end although it would be fair to say that both nature (your genetics) and nurture (your environment) have shared influence upon the personality of an individual in equal portions. People's genes obviously affect their personality (sight, vision, pain tolerance) as well as their environment (whether in a thriving community or starving). Any claim that either of these "factors" is predominate over the other (i.e. nurture shapes you, not nature) will have to present some serious evidence in order to convince this blogger.

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By Darnell Clayton • 2:40 AM • Email Post • •


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