Nature vs. Nurture

871 Words4 Pages
Nature vs. Nurture

When we look at the world around us today, we are struck by the amazing diversity that we see in people. There is a vast diversity in the characteristics of people that are immediately obvious: short, tall; fat, thin; Asian, Caucasian; and many other characteristics. Each person as an individual is unique, be it in physical outlook or character. How is it that of the 6 billion people on Earth, there are no 2 individuals who are exactly alike? Every persons physical and psychological characteristics are determined by many factors, and these can be divided into 2 main groups: our genes and our environment, or nature and nurture.

What are our genes? Genes are the chemical blueprint unique to each person. Different people may have the same genes but in different combinations and so they may have some similarities in their characteristics, but never all. Genes determine a vast array of discontinuous characteristics such as hair and eye colour as well as playing a great part in many continuous characteristics (which also depend on other factors) such as height. Our environment is all other factors that may contribute to the development of an individual such as nourishment, climate and even culture or upbringing. It also includes the element of chance.

Since we are all different as individuals, what would happen if we were to eliminate the differences due to our genes? The only situation where we have genetically identical individuals is in identical twins that came from the same fertilised egg. Anyone who knows a pair of twins knows that even though they are physically almost identical (which is where the phrase "only their mother can tell them apart" comes from), psychologically they may be vastly differ...

... middle of paper ...

... place, so we can see that genetics allows for the possibility of a behavioural trait being expressed and the environment will determine if this behavioural trait will be expressed at all.

Each individual is unique because of the delicate interactions between our genes and the environment. Slight differences in the environment can result in great personality differences and differences in the genome can give rise to totally differing physical characteristics. As a general rule, our genes have a greater part to play in our physical outlook and our environment is more likely to affect our behaviour. In the end, the interactions between genes and environment can be described as such: genes will determine the maximum potential of a given trait, from behaviour to physical characteristics; whereas the environment will determine if we fulfil this potential in the end.
Open Document