Another advance thanks to the human genome project
Tuesday 03 April 2007
The completion of the human genome project has opened up new possibilities in the study of genes and behaviour.
Scientists have already identified genes, or more accurately variations in genes, that can be linked with behaviours as diverse as anxiety, depression, hostility, aggression, sex drive, addiction and even criminality.
Just as genes are responsible for providing the digital recipe for making the blood, flesh and bone of the body, they are also responsible for the cells and nerve fibres that make up the brain and central nervous system.
It is little wonder, say scientists, that genetic inheritance deals the cards that predispose someone to mental disorders such as depression or risk-taking behaviour such as gambling or alcoholism.
Of course, the environment - in this case upbringing and education - plays a critical role in the psychological development of any child. But scientists have shown that both nature and nurture can interact in a complex manner to shape the psychological and emotional identity of a person.
One pioneering study, for instance, showed that children who suffer serious maltreatment and are born with a particular variation in a gene for a brain enzyme are at significantly higher risk of developing serious anti-social behaviour compared with children without the gene - even if those children have been similarly abused.
This study showed that a person's genetic make-up up can influence their susceptibility to a particularly traumatic episode in their early upbringing. Other children may be fortunate in having a genetic make-up that makes them resistant to such trauma.
- 1 Eurovision 2015: Graham Norton returns with another cutting commentary - his best lines
- 2 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 3 Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take title from Conchita Wurst
- 4 Mother 'will allow son's circumcision in return for release from prison'
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Greek hospitals cannot afford painkillers, scissors or sheets as budget cuts bite
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Bulgarian seaside resort Sunny Beach is cheapest for beer
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...