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Articles » Genetics Center » Nature versus Nurture
 

Nature versus Nurture

Nature versus nurture is the age-old discussion over how much of us is born and how much of our behavior is made. Nature refers to DNA and nurture refers to our environment during development. How much of us is caused by DNA and how much is caused by our upbringing and environment. This issue has been addressed with regard to numerous issues including:

  • Intelligence - are we born with a high/low IQ or does our environment affect it?
  • Gender identity - is our sense of gender born, or can it be altered by surgery and environment; this is an important issue for treatment of infants born with malformed genital organs.
  • Criminal behavior
  • Addictions

In some cases, the issue is regarding "susceptibility". For example, alcoholism is clearly not something we are born with, but perhaps some people are born with a greater susceptibility to this addiction.

 

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