Stephens_Lecture3-Spr2010 - Genetic Mechanisms of Behavior...

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1 Genetic Mechanisms of Behavior Lecture 3 – BIOL 3411 How Doth DNA Influence Behavior? …let me count the ways: Why Do We Care About Genes and Behavior? 1. Natural selection can only shape those aspects of behavior that have a genetic component. 2. Genetic analyses provide powerful insights into the mechanistic (Proximate!) causes of behavior. 3. Analysis of genetic influences on animal behaviors important for understanding genetic contributions to certain human behaviors.
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2 Do genes determine behaviors? • The old “Nature versus Nurture” controversy – If I misbehave, can I claim innocence because “ my genes made me do it? Or is society (i.e., my “environment”) to blame? – Which is it…genes or environment? • It’s a really stupid question! – practically ALL phenotypes, including behaviors, are influenced by three components: 1. A genetic component (G) 2. An environmental component (E) the same genes can produce different phenotypes in different environments !! The Phenotype Equation • Which component most influences the phenotype? – It’s different for every phenotypic trait!! – It can change over evolutionary time • Which components are targets of natural selection? – only those components involving genes: (G) and (G x E) • So, back to the original question… Do genes determine behaviors? • How do we study genetic influences on behaviors?
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This note was uploaded on 02/20/2010 for the course BIOL 3411 taught by Professor Stephens during the Spring '10 term at Minnesota.

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Stephens_Lecture3-Spr2010 - Genetic Mechanisms of Behavior...

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