Behavior_of_Genes_by_Gene_Robinson - OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR The...

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December 13, 2004 OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR The Behavior of Genes By GENE ROBINSON Urbana, Ill. — "THE right genes make all the difference." Or so declares an advertisement, as a boy portraying the son of Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf holds his own in a match against Taylor Dent. While neither science, nor this television commercial, can explain much about how the genes of the tennis stars' son might affect his tennis game, people are comfortable linking genes to athletic prowess. Many people, however, are leery of attributing other components of behavior to genes - personality or intelligence, or social traits like fidelity, for example. They're troubled by the ethical implications of genetic determination; it is as if giving a nod toward the genes automatically diminishes the role of the environment and free will. It is nature versus nurture: a debate that has spawned extremist views on both sides, from Nazism (nature) to Marxism (nurture). The truth of the matter is that DNA is both inherited and environmentally responsive, and recent findings from animal studies go a long way toward resolving nature versus nurture by upsetting the assumption that the two work differently. The discoveries emphasize what genes do (producing proteins that are the building blocks of life), rather than simply who they are (their fixed DNA sequence). The results hold the promise of breakthroughs in our understanding of human behavior and what
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This note was uploaded on 07/26/2010 for the course POLI POLI 1001 taught by Professor Eubanks during the Fall '07 term at LSU.

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Behavior_of_Genes_by_Gene_Robinson - OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR The...

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