How Much can We Control Our Genetics, at What Point do We Cease to be Human?
Genetic control in human
The branch of biology that deals with variation, heredity, and their transmission in both animals and the plant is called genetics. Just about every week, news about genetic disorders, such as breast cancer, alcoholism, obesity and manic depression, are at the for-front.
Such news make us understand that life depends on genes, thus we consider that we can spot the causes of personality, criminology and other human traits. Schnittker (3) stated that quite a large number of people fate by depend on people genes.
The question whether genes determines behavior, cognitive and emotional character is still debatable nowadays. However, there are a lot of researches on the roles of genes in determining behavior. In the past few decades, there have been reports which try to find out localizing genes for schizophrenia (Turner & Stets 26), alcoholism, manic-depression (Takuya et al. 324) and homosexuality (Hamer et al. 321-327).
Popular response to genetic claims can be influenced by politics. Many people believe that the discovery of a gene that is responsible for “gay personality” may lead to social approval because it explains that its issue does not deal with personal chooses. In many cases, people are encouraged by the researches that give them hope to find answers to frightening problems such as breast cancer, However, sometimes, community fails to accept these studies.
The correlation linking a gene and human conduct is unusual though disruption of a single gene can lead to dramatic effect on individual behavior. On the other hand, it is difficult to tell the involvement of genes in the process of behavior control (Horgan 1).
On the contrary, each gene is a single player linking non-addictive interaction of genes, food, hormones, protein, and life experiences. Interactions of these factors lead to effect on the behavior and cognitive functions. In other words, people behavior, thoughts and emotion have biological mechanisms, but these do not mean that we can split and quantify the genetic contribution to these processes.
Linkage trait is an example that can be used to demonstrate the human behavior and observation that certain human behavior “run in a family.” It should be noted that either environment or genes, and the combination of these two factors might cause the personality. Studies involving identical twins IQ, which try to quantify genetic contribution to their behavior, have been done (Eiseman 7).
Manipulation of DNA has been also done in the attempt to locate individual genes that seem to determine the behavior of an individual. In linked genes, traceable pieces of DNA called genetic markers used to find out the location of a gene.
Marker of individual that portrays behavior or some traits of character are missed in other people, then, it is an expectation that there is a gene in proximity to the marker which can be associated to the behavior. However, the association of a trait and marker does not necessarily mean relevant gene been discovered, but a relevant locale found.
This research has helped in locating genes that are responsible for diseases such as Huntington’s that is a complex disease causing behavioral disorder, and a single gene is responsible for it. Unlike other types of linked diseases that are dependent on a pair of genes, Huntington’s disease requires a single gene for it to be transmitted from generation to generation.
Psychological forces influence how we view mental illnesses like schizophrenia and depression, personality problems like obesity and bulimia and social issues like criminology. Effort to combat them proves that it is difficult and has little success.
Gene for mental illness that causes schizophrenia and manic-depression discovered in the late 1980s was disproven. In the 1987, a study linking family members proved that genetic material suspects segment on the chromosomes of families with quite a high incidence of disease.
Active area of DNA (genetic marker) seems to coincide with the disease in many cases. Marker appearing only in ailing family member shows that the evidence of a genetic link is retrieved.
It is vital to note understanding genes and behavior that genes function by instructing the developing organism to make sequences of biochemical compounds’. However, at a cellular level, environment affects the activity of genes. The most influential and active genetic material does not code for a trait; it regulates the speed and direction of the expression of the related genes.
Genetics affects differences in a group of people, which experiences some strains or hardship. Therefore, there is a question whether genes as well as experiences pass to children and whether these two notions are connected. Still parents who get drunk and quarrel in front of their children provide disruptive family environment.
In such circumstances, it is essential to consider the behavior of children to be worsen in these families and investigate the dependence of the behavior to come from the genes or the environment (Cacioppo 4).
Twin studies are to prove that those genes play a key role in shaping usual mental characteristics, such as individuality type and general intelligence. A single gene does not normally transmit the inheritances of these characteristics (Cacioppo 6).
These studies establish the net effect of the genes on a character that is heritable. Heritability involving twins is studied by a number of scientist that have showed that inheritance influence the behavior apart at a large extent when the twins get separated.
It was announced that genes of obesity on mice and humans was discovered by Rockefeller University that found a genetic mutation in obese mice.
These researchers believed that there is a gene in both humans and animals that are responsible to decide how fat or full an organism is. Those that have this mutation do not sense when they have sufficient fatty tissues, thus, they cannot stop eating. The same gene that was found in mice was detected in humans (Schnittker 229).
Point at which we cease to be human
Cultural issues should be dealt with before attempting to settle genetic issues. This can be done through social and cultural integration. The need for a consistent moral system is crucial in the dynamic mixture of personal behavior system that the world has. Acceptance of a certain behavior in a culture maybe viewed as loathing by another, and it may be difficult to move from one sub-culture to another (Blum et al. 397).
The freedom of individuals’ development returns us to the subject of whether the nature and nurture can be separated. The issue of traits of being either environmentally or genetically caused makes it difficult to understand human development. To find out what amount of personality is genetic and what depends on environment is like analysis of what level of a blizzard is caused by cold temperature rather than humidity.
In conclusion, determination of to what proportion behavior is genetic and environmentally affected will always elude us. People individuality and destinies do not entail an uncomplicated approach. Claim that genes cause people’s dilemma, individuality and misconduct reflects people’s cultural attitude.
Takuya, Saito, et al. ‘Analysis of GNAZ Gene Polymorphism in Bipolar Affective Disorder’. 88:324–328 (1999).
Blum, Kenneth, et al. ‘’. Journal of the Royal Society Of Medicine Volume 89 July 1 996: 396-399.
Eiseman, Anne. Cloning Human Beings: Views of Scientific Societies and Professional Associations on Human Nuclear Transfer Cloning Research. Paper Commissioned By the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, 2000: 6-29.
Horgan, John. How Much Do Genes Influence Behaviour?. Chronicle of Higher Education.
Hamer, Dean, et al. A Linkage Between DNA Markers on the X- Chromosome and Male Sexual Orientation. New York: Routledge, 1993.
Cacioppo, John. The Structure and Spread of Loneliness in a Large Social Network. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, in press, nd.
Schnittker, Lerner. ‘Happiness and Success: Genes, Families, and the Psychological Effects of Socioeconomic Position and Social Support’. American Journal of Sociology, 2008. 1-27.
Schnittker, Jason. 2010 51: 229.
Turner, John & Stets, Eliud. Sociological Theories of Human Emotions. Annual Review of Sociology, 32, 2006.
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