Blueprint how dna makes us who we are review
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Robert Plomin on Blueprint (book trailer)
For a long time there was an uncomfortable paradox in the world of behaviour genetics. The evidence for genes heavily influencing personality, intelligence and almost everything about human behaviour got stronger and stronger as more and more studies of twins and adoption came through. However, the evidence implicating any particular gene in any of these traits stubbornly refused to emerge, and when it did, it failed to replicate.
Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are
A child is born to a family of lazy fatties. When she is a few months old, she is adopted by a family of hard-exercising, meagre-eating skinnies. She will grow up slim, right? And, of course, the skinnies have devoured all the best parenting books; they read to her for hours, they save up to send her to a selective private school. This will surely drag her out of the world of the underachieving fatties, right?
What should babies be screened for, and who should share in the data? Social inequality gapes, exacerbated by climate change, driving hostility towards immigrants and flares of militant racism. At such a juncture, yet another expression of the discredited, simplistic idea that genes alone control human nature seems particularly insidious. And yet, here we are again with Blueprint , by educational psychologist Robert Plomin. Crude hereditarianism often re-emerges after major advances in biological knowledge: Darwinism begat eugenics; Mendelism begat worse eugenics.
In the age-old nature versus nurture argument, nature seems to have stolen a march. Physical traits such as height have always belonged to nature but psychology and personality were thought to be mainly the product of environment. Yet genes, according to Robert Plomin, account for half of psychological differences, from depression to school attainment, while families and schools account for just five per cent. Even weight is said to be 70 per cent inherited. This book will help sell a lot of those kits but will shock, and maybe anger, a lot of people too. A survey of 5, British adults found that people estimated the genetic influence on school achievement to be just 29 per cent while genetic research, says Plomin, estimates it at 60 per cent. But in the next breath he jauntily tells us that parenting makes little difference to outcomes for children, that private school fees are largely a waste of money and that kindness and resilience are more nature than nurture.
Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are is published by Allen Lane. To order a copy for £ (RRP £20) go to inti-revista.org or.
though she be little she is fierce print
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Email address:. Robert Plomin. Mit Press. A top behavioral geneticist makes the case that DNA inherited from our parents at the moment of conception can predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses. What The Reviewers Say. An important and challenging book This book will help sell a lot of [genomics] kits but will shock, and maybe anger, a lot of people too