Biology and Behavior

April 3, 1998 • Volume 8, Issue 13
How much do our genes drive the way we act?
By Adriel Bettelheim

Introduction

Lab mice have played a critical role in recent genetic discoveries. (Photo Credit: Robert Bishop)
Lab mice have played a critical role in recent genetic discoveries. (Photo Credit: Robert Bishop)

Nearly every week, scientists report identifying a new gene linked to a particular human trait. The discoveries have provided a clearer understanding of the human condition and offered a starting point for potential cures to cancer, AIDS, cystic fibrosis and a host of other afflictions. But the ability to unravel the mysteries of DNA has led some researchers to look for genetic links to commonplace behaviors, such as sexuality, violence and risk-taking. That has spawned a sometimes passionate debate over how much biology controls destiny and whether society is relying too much on science and discounting underlying social and economic conditions. Policy-makers are trying to sort out the social ramifications and establish ground rules for genetic testing and privacy.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Genetics and Cloning
Sep. 15, 2017  Medical Breakthroughs
Jun. 19, 2015  Manipulating the Human Genome
May 31, 2013  Patenting Human Genes
Jan. 21, 2011  Genes and Health
May 15, 2009  Reproductive Ethics
Oct. 22, 2004  Cloning Debate
May 18, 2001  Designer Humans
May 12, 2000  Human Genome Research
Dec. 17, 1999  Embryo Research
May 28, 1999  DNA Databases
Apr. 03, 1998  Biology and Behavior
May 09, 1997  The Cloning Controversy
Dec. 08, 1995  Gene Therapy's Future
Apr. 08, 1994  Reproductive Ethics
Oct. 18, 1991  Gene Therapy
Aug. 16, 1991  Fetal Tissue Research
Jun. 30, 1989  Solving Crimes with Genetic Fingerprinting
Apr. 03, 1987  Biotechnology Developments
Jan. 10, 1986  Genetic Breakthroughs
Dec. 26, 1980  Genetic Business
Mar. 25, 1977  Genetic Research
May 19, 1971  Human Engineering
Aug. 20, 1969  Human Intelligence
Dec. 13, 1967  Genetics and the Life Process
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Genetic Disorders and Medical Genetics