Genetics is rarely just about genes

If you want a crystal clear introduction to the role genetics can play in human nature, you can’t do much better than an article in The Guardian’s Sifting the Evidence blog by epidemiologist Marcus Munafo.

It’s been giving a slightly distracting title – but ignore that – and just read the main text.

Are we shaped more by our genes or our environment – the age-old question of nature and nurture? This is really a false dichotomy; few, if any, scientists working in the area of human behaviour would adhere to either an extreme nature or extreme nurture position. But what do we mean when we say that our behaviours are influenced by genetic factors? And how do we know?

It will be one of the most useful 20 minutes you’ll spend this week.

Link to excellent introduction to genetics and human behaviour.

4 thoughts on “Genetics is rarely just about genes”

  1. Proper nutrition is vital for child brain development. The rich like to claim the poor are stupid when the poor did not get access to proper food and education while growing up.

    Having DNA that gives a person long fingers can enable them to play the piano or be a pick-pocket thief.

    The article starts with “Let’s take the case of schizophrenia”
    A behavior turned into a “disease”. How do you catch it?

    Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry (1979)Thomas Szasz

  2. i see. So in fact evolution isn’t certain DNA sequences being preferred due to selection but actually some metaphysical quantity like intelligent design. Cool. So it’s no problem to keep bad genes in the genepool, to promote incest etc. Great stuff. /sarc

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