Essay on Definitions of Epigenetics, Nature and Nurture

Essay on Definitions of Epigenetics, Nature and Nurture

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1) Even though DNA and the genetic code may be the same, genes can express themselves differently in certain situations. This concept is known as epigenetics. Epigenetics regulates what cells turn into and how they are expressed. As seen in the Epigenesis video, epigenetics are created by methylation, which is a process that turns certain genes off or on. Another factor is inheritance of the genomes that turn off specific cells or pass on traits that we may receive from our parents or even grandparents.
A great example of epigenetics could be observed in identical twin studies. Seeing their DNA similarity and their change over time, helps explain the factor of environment that plays a huge role in our epigenomes. As twins grow older and experience diverse environments, they start to differ in their genes more so than very young twins. Other factors such as nutrients, chemicals, or even behaviors can increase epigenetic action.
The most interesting change in Epigenesis is the development of cancer in identical twins. While one twin may never have to experience cancer, the other identical twin may suffer from cancer that developed through the process of epigenetics. This change in our DNA is caused by a bidirectional interaction between our genes and the environment. There are critical periods such as puberty or pregnancy, in which the environment can have a greater impact on our genes and therefore on our epigenetic activity.
2) The method that allows researchers to understand cause and effect relationships is the experimental method. Unlike correlational methods, experiments lead to scientific explanations. In experimental methods, researchers use controlled observations to test their hypotheses. Some experimental methods may...

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...ves because of the early opportunities that they obtain.
A modern theory of nature and nurture is seen in the continuity versus discontinuity process. While some theorists believe that characteristics can be traced back to the early stage in life, others believe that behaviors of development are independent from prior occurrences. Continuity is a systematic process, in which skills are learned through prior experiences in the environment. However, discontinuity theorists believe that development is caused by biological factors that work internally and lead to an uneven growth. Nevertheless, both sides of this theory agree on the two factors that play a role in development.

Harwood, R. & Miller, S. A., & Vasta, R. (2008). Child psychology: Development in a changing society 5th edition. United States of America. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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