Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Power of Two

We've all thought about the nature-nurture issue and about what makes us who we are.

For a powerful statement about both the strength of our genetic make up and serendipity, read this article from Newsweek that recounts how two young girls adopted by different sets of American parents from the same orphanage in China not only turned out to share the same DNA but also the same given name. And much much more!



Divya said...
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Divya said...

Hi Dr Brad! I could not access the newsweek article I have no idea why, however, since I am majoring in Lifesciences I have heard a lot sometimes too much even on the wonders of our genetic makeup.

I would like to share a very interesting study that was done quite sometime back that I heard about. A group of researchers apparently wanted to test whether it is our genetic makeup or social influences that shape our personality and who we are. Naturally when I read this topic, I thought well it should be social influences and that is exactly what the researchers were expecting but the results turned out pretty different.

They tracked down identical twins who had been separated and adopted by different people at birth and studied them. One particular example was stunning where these 2 brothers both grew up to be firemen, both preferred having moustaches and even married the same type of women if I recall right.

So I guess we should never really doubt the power of our genetic makeup. There is so much we do not know yet.

Diana Yap said...
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Diana Yap said...

Thanks for sharing the article! I find it really heart warming and I actually read through the entire article.

Nature vs Nurture. So which actually contributes to individual's behavior, intelligence, and personality? Is it our genetics makeup, or our environment? I think there is still no exact answer to it. However, from my point of view, both heredity and environment do play a part in human development.

As we all know, some people were borned with inborned abilities and trait. For example, parents who are athletes normally have children who probably grow up to become athletes as well. This could be due to the environment they were brought up in, where both parents are avid sportsmen. In addition, it could also be due to their genetics, such that the children has also inherited the gene for high VO2 max. Thus, more likely to excel in sports.

So now, if both also play a role, which plays a more significant role? How much of who we are is shaped by genes and how much by the environment?

From my point of view,there is no exact answer of which plays a more significant role. Life is dynamic and full of uncertainties. So be it genetics or the environment that actually shape us more, the result will probably be prone to changes as we reach different phases in life. Our environment changes, people around us change, and perhaps we ourselves change too over the years. I felt vehemently that the debate will go on...

Just my two cents worth? What do you think Dr Brad?

Hou Zhisheng said...

In this truly touching story of how fate brought the twins together, there lies an age-long question of whether it is nature or nurture that shapes a child's development.

There has been plenty evidence supporting both schools of thought, but I choose not to go into the details of the debate.

Instead, I wonder why we humans are so fascinated by this debate. When we look at the evidences presented in this controversy, do we view them with tinted glasses? As science students, we may be unaware of Enlightenment thinking such as the preoccupation with reasoned progress and logical conclusions. We might be perplexed and find it difficult to accept when we cannot find an logical explanation for the bond which connects the twins together.

In the article, Dr Bouchard admits that he did not know the answer. I think it is clear then, that we are fascinated by what science cannot give us an explanation for. Perhaps that is why we continue to search for an answer, to dig deeper into this controversy hoping to find a logical conclusion.