Stephen Pinker on Genes

This is from an article in the New York Times:

 The nature vs. nurture debate is over:

Behavioral genetics has repeatedly found that the "shared environment" – everything that siblings growing up in the same home have in common, including their parents, their neighborhood, their home, their peer group and their school – has less of an influence on the way they turn out than their genes.

Our genes become more important as we age:

A common finding is that the effects of being brought up in a given family are sometimes detectable in childhood, but that they tend to peter out by the time the child has grown up. That is, the reach of the genes appears to get stronger as we age, not weaker.

You can screen your own genes:

The really new feature offered by 23andMe is its genetic report card. The company directs you to a Web page that displays risk factors for 14 diseases and 10 traits, and links to pages for an additional 51 diseases and 21 traits for which the scientific evidence is more iffy.

Even so, you may not learn what you want to know:

In a recent study of 6,000 children, the gene with the biggest effect accounted for less than one-quarter of an I.Q. point.

Comments (3)

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  1. Bruce says:

    John. This is a very un-PC post. Hard to believe that the article appeared in the New York Times.

  2. Clark says:

    Bruce, it is un-PC. Scholars who research genetics and who are brazen enough to talk about it are still harassed and discriminated against on college campuses.

  3. Nancy says:

    John, you didn’t mention price. The article says a full screen can cost almost $100,000. Whereas the results you can get from 23andMe are only between $300 and $400.

    The lower priced option is far and away the best buy because it covers the genes that scientists have already studied and know something about.