Chapter 9: Nature and Nurture

How much are you shaped by your genes and how much by your environment? This debate is controversial and never ending, and made more complex by the recent understanding of epigenetics. Not only do we inherit our genetic sequence, we also inherit epigenetic modifications that influence which genes are active. It’s like we are inheriting our parents’ and grandparents’ environments.

And what do we mean by our environment? This can range from the support we receive from friends to the microorganisms in our gut (which we are only now starting to realise can have an impact on our behaviour).

The reality is that this is incredibly complex, and there are many interactions between genes and the environment, making it very hard (and arguably pointless) to separate the two.

For anyone interested in this topic, I enjoyed this free course on behavioural genetics. The issue was explored in a recent debate which makes interesting reading.