Is it All Because of Our Genes?

analytical Essay
832 words
832 words

Is it all because of our genes?

"We used to think our fate was in our stars. Now, we know, in large part, that our fate is in our genes." ---James Watson

Considering the central dogma of DNA-to-RNA-to-polypeptide, the above statement by the co-discoverer of the double helix certainly seems undeniable. From crippling diseases like Duchene's Muscular Dystrophy (a progressive muscle wasting disease) and neurofibromatosis (a dominant gene located on chromosome 17 which results in tumors growing on the nerves under the skin, causing severe disfiguration and paralysis) to the essential genes like that on chromosome 3 which codes for the light sensitive pigment, rodopsin, enabling one to see, it seems we are explicably tied to that linear sequence of nucleotides in the nucleus, that string of molecular beads of which genes are made and in whose sequential ordering resides all the genetic information an organism receives from its parents.

Even without such scientific knowledge, many do recognize that not "all men are created equal". Hopeful parents know full well despite their best of efforts that girls turn every toy into a doll and boys turn everything into a weapon; they rarely persist in believing that these differences is the result of early encouragement and training. Researchers who conduct studies on identical twins separated shortly after birth report that these people share too many similar traits, despite their contrasting backgrounds, for these to be due to coincidence alone. More recently, reports of genetic components for culturally-defined traits such as intelligence, homosexuality and even job satisfaction serve to strengthen the cause of genetic determinism. So there just is no escaping our genes, is there? I...

... middle of paper ...

...e process of development also includes many elements of chance. For example, many more motor neurons are formed than are ultimately employed, and those that fail to make the right connections subsequently die.

So, both the "nature" and "nurture" camps are right--to a certain extend. It might one day be possible to equip each member of the species with a disc telling him whether he is likely to have a weight problem, or be any good at music, whether he might have a chance at genius, or be devoutly religious. Beside every gene would be a note that reads: " This prediction is only valid if you were brought up by two middle-class, white parents in Arizona..".


Campbell, Neil A. "Biology". 4th Edition. The Benjamin/ Cummings Publishing Company, Inc. 1996

Goldsmith, Timothy H. " The biological Roots of Human Nature".Oxford University Press. 1994

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes the central dogma of dna-rna-polypeptide, and explains how the double helix is linked to the linear sequence of nucleotides and molecular beads of genes.
  • Argues that even without scientific knowledge, many recognize that not all men are created equal. hopeful parents know that girls turn every toy into a doll and boys turn everything into weapons.
  • Argues that the spectra of eugenics haunting modern genetics research led to forced sterilization, biased immigration laws, and genocide.
  • Argues that the diversity of human cultures and human choices are simply too great to involve genetic steering. sensationalism by the press paints an unrealistically biased picture.
  • Argues that the problem is the drawing of lines and the establishment of a fixed dichotomy-black and white with no shades of gray in between--nature vs.
  • Explains that with advances in medical science, even completely heritable traits are no longer indications of one's fate.
  • Opines that both the "nature" and "nurture" camps are right, to a certain extent. it might one day be possible to equip each member of the species.
Get Access