Genetics_Part_I_.pdf - Genetics Part I Introduction Behind the story of our human brain-surely the most awesome thing on Earth-is the essence of our

Genetics_Part_I_.pdf - Genetics Part I Introduction Behind...

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Genetics Part I Introduction Behind the story of our human brain-surely the most awesome thing on Earth-is the essence of our universal human attributes and our individual traits. What makes you you? In important ways, we are each unique. We look different. We sound different. We have varying personalities, interests, and cultural and family backgrounds. We are also the leaves of one tree. Our human family shares not only a common biological heritage- cut us and we bleed-but also common behavioral tendencies. Our shared brain architecture predisposes us to sense the world, develop language, and feel hunger through identical mechanisms. Whether we live in the Arctic or the tropics, we prefer sweet tastes to sour. We divide the color spectrum into similar colors. And we feel drawn to behaviors that produce and protect offspring. Our kinship appears in our social behaviors as well. Whether named Wong, Nkomo, Smith, or Gonzales, we start fearing strangers at about eight months, and as teenagers and adults we prefer the company of those with attitudes and attributes similar to our own. Coming from different parts of the globe, we know how to read one another’s smiles and frowns. As members of one species, we affiliate, conform, return favors, punish offenses, organize hierarchies of status, and grieve a child’s death. A visitor from outer space could drop in anywhere and find humans dancing and feasting, singing and worshiping, playing sports and games, laughing and crying, living in families and forming groups. Taken together, such universal behaviors define our human nature. What causes our striking diversity, and also our shared human nature? How much are human differences shaped by our differing genes? And how much by our environment —by every external influence, from maternal nutrition while in the womb to social support while nearing the tomb? This unit begins to tell the complex story of how our genes (nature) and environments (nurture) define us. The nurture of nature Parents everywhere wonder: Will my baby grow up to be peaceful or aggressive? Homely or attractive? Successful or struggling at every step? What comes built in, and what is nurtured—and how? Research reveals that nature and nurture together shape our development—every step of the way. Courtesy Brendan Baruth
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Genetics Part I 3C.1 Behavior Genetics: Predicting Individual Differences » 1: What are genes, and how do behavior geneticists explain our individual differences? “Thanks for almost everything, Dad” © The New Yorker Collection, 1999, Danny Shanahan from cartoonbank.com. All rights reserved. IF JADEN AGASSI, SON OF TENNIS STARS Andre Agassi and Stephanie Graf, grows up to be a tennis star, should we attribute his superior talent to his Grand Slam genes? To his growing up in a tennis- rich environment? To high expectations? Such questions intrigue behavior geneticists , who study our differences and weigh the effects and interplay of heredity and environment .
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