The Human Genome Project was just the starting point

26. April 2011

Date: 24-04-2011
 Source: The Guardian
A gene for this and a gene for that? No – we’re only beginning to unravel the complex genetics of human characteristics

You are a beautiful and unique snowflake. Soon there will be 7 billion humans on Earth, and yet with Dr Seussian confidence I can state that “there is no one alive who is Youer than You”. Even if you are an identical twin, you’ll know that you are not exactly the same as your sibling. This is borne out in the DNA of identical twins, whose genetic code diverges in small but measurable ways during their lives.

Uniqueness is literally in our DNA. The template for that individuality is in the 3bn units of genetic code that we carry in our cells. Couple that with the fact that our experiences and environments are unique, and influence how our genetic code plays out, and you have a model for irreproducibility. Scientists no longer say “nature versus nurture”, as it is clear that these two are not in conflict, but in collaboration. A better phrase is “nature via nurture”: the combination makes you you. Read the rest of this entry »