Heredity or Environment, Which affects a person more?

The Family Line

How do Genetics affect us ?

Our parents each contribute an equal number of chromosomes to each child, 23 chromosomes from the father and 23 chromosomes from the mother. Although this seems simple enough, it is not. Shared species heritability through biological evolution explains how humans develop similarly.

Genes are responsible for eye color, hair color, skin tone, gender and some genetic disorders as well, like cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, huntington's disease and sickle-cell disease. Physical and physiological characteristics are strongly associated and influenced by genes, while personality, atitudes and traits like security of attachment and creativity are not.

Does Family Have A Role?

The answer is not so simple as one or the other. Families are an important part of our development, arguably the most important part of our development. Humans after all are social beings, we are taught through social interactions with family, school and community.

Developmental theorists might say our greatest teacher is our family. We learn habits, we learn the roots of our culture and to a large extent our identity comes out of our roles and responsibilities within our family.

A family experiencing generational poverty will provide an environment completely opposite to that of a moderately successful middle class family. Impoverished families generally lack the same level of education, access to resources such as health care and have limited income potential. Middle class families are typically better educated, have access to a variety of resources and often have higher income potential.

Middle class families tend to be better equipped to support children and thereby create a developmental advantage over impoverished children.

What role does environment play?

Environment influances affect everyone from the beginning of life. Language accusition, habits and more are developed through social interactions. Additionally where you live influences developmental outcomes, health and lifestyle to a large extent.

A complex interaction between genetic influences and enviornmental experiences

Enviornmental Differences

How does this environment affect these children?
How does this environment affect these children? | Source
What about this enviornment?
What about this enviornment? | Source

OBESITY: Genetic or Enviornmental

Obesity and Environment

Over the past 20 years Americans have become fatter and fatter with over 60% of American men and women considered over weight to obese. This phenomenon is a result of unhealthy nutrition and lack of exercise. The abundance of over processed unhealthy foods combined with sedentary lifestyles create the perfect storm of environmental influence resulting in unhealthy affects for many Americans.

Overcomming Heritability

Overcomming Genetics

It is possible to overcome the affects of genetics. Down syndrome is a genetic disorder, but as the video shows many who are affected by down syndrome live happy and productive lives. While it is not always possible to overcome the affects of genetics, my experiences tell me that those who choose to approach their disorders in positive ways can make the best of a bad situation.


Do you believe it is possible to overcome genetic affects?

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The bottem line is that both affect us positvely and negatively. Our environment does affect our ability to cope with life's difficulties,environment affects our health and happiness. We are able to overcome physical and mental challenges with proper supports from our families, friends and communities.

Conversely our environment can play a negative role in our ability to remain healthy and productive some enviornments produce stress while others are ecologicly unfriendly producing health risks.

The degree to which each of us is affected is measured in large part by the cards we are delt, the enviornments we live in and the choices me make.

Comments 8 comments

profile image 5 years ago

Interesting information.

Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 4 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

I get the sense that all of the radiowaves passing through the air that allow for mobile phone technology and for WiFi access may be having a small environmental effect on everyone, that, over many years, may have a deleterious effect on all of us.

There is a 10% chance that I will succumb to ALS which is purely genetic and there is nothing I can do about that.

The obesity video you've got there is pretty astounding at how much it has changed over a single generation.

Great hub voted up and interesting.

mjboomer profile image

mjboomer 4 years ago from Oregon Author

Absolutely, truth is choice matters, especially when you consider the leading causes of death in the US are cardiovascular disease and stroke both result from poor choices.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Thanks for answering my question with this hub. Very interesting! The videos you choose to include are informative as well. Voted up and will SHARE.

Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

Good philosophical question and some good points raised here!

There is constant interplay between any given genome and the environment. Inheriting a specific mutation related to a particular disease only means that one is at an increased risk for the disease. As pointed out in the hub, the environment factors in. Having mutation in genes that predispose someone to cancer is a great example. Not everyone that has a genetic mutation linked breast cancer, will get breast cancer - same holds true for other cancers and many other diseases. That person's diet and exposure to certain chemicals can increase or decrease the likelihood. It's been estimated that well over 70% of cancers are linked to diet, inactivity and exposure to chemicals from the environment.

In some cases diet and environment can ultimately cause permanent changes in DNA that can be passed down to subsequent generations.

mjboomer profile image

mjboomer 4 years ago from Oregon Author

Great response....I like the way you frame the discussion Kris, Thank You

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I don't except everything I have inherited as a permanent circumstance. Like Kris says- diet and environment can alter that. To the best of my ability, I will try to do right by my own body and live as well as possible. Great, thought provoking hub!

mjboomer profile image

mjboomer 4 years ago from Oregon Author

Alecia, I agree. It is also nice to know that even after making poor choices we can overcome the resulting effects by choosing healthier lifestyles.

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