What Makes You Who You Are

The perennial debate about nature and nurture–which is the more potent shaper of the human essence? –is perennially rekindled. It flared up again in the London Observer of Feb. 11, 2001. REVEALED: THE SECRET OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR, read the banner headline. ENVIRONMENT, NOT GENES, KEY TO OUR ACTS. The source of the story was Craig Venter, the self-made man of genes who had built a private company to read the full sequence of the human genome in competition with an international consortium funded by taxes and charities.
That sequence–a string of 3 billion letters, composed in a four-letter alphabet, containing the complete recipe for building and running a human body–was to be published the very next day (the competition ended in an arranged tie). The first analysis of it had revealed that there were just 30,000 genes in it, not the 100,000 that many had been estimating until a few months before. Details had already been circulated to journalists under embargo. But Venter, by speaking to a reporter at a biotechnology conference in France on Feb. , had effectively broken the embargo. Not for the first time in the increasingly bitter rivalry over the genome project, Venter’s version of the story would hit the headlines before his rivals’. “We simply do not have enough genes for this idea of biological determinism to be right,” Venter told the Observer. “The wonderful diversity of the human species is not hard-wired in our genetic code. Our environments are critical. ” In truth, the number of human genes changed nothing.
Venter’s remarks concealed two whopping nonsequiturs: that fewer genes implied more environmental influences and that 30,000 genes were too few to explain human nature, whereas 100,000 would have been enough. As one scientist put it to me a few weeks later, just 33 genes, each coming in two varieties (on or off), would be enough to make every human being in the world unique. There are more than 10 billion combinations that could come from flipping a coin 33 times, so 30,000 does not seem such a small number after all.

Besides, if fewer genes meant more free will, fruit flies would be freer than we are, bacteria freer still and viruses the John Stuart Mill of biology. Fortunately, there was no need to reassure the population with such sophisticated calculations. People did not weep at the humiliating news that our genome has only about twice as many genes as a worm’s. Nothing had been hung on the number 100,000, which was just a bad guess. But the human genome project–and the decades of research that preceded it–did force a much more nuanced understanding of how genes work.
In the early days, scientists detailed how genes encode the various proteins that make up the cells in our bodies. Their more sophisticated and ultimately more satisfying discovery–that gene expression can be modified by experience–has been gradually emerging since the 1980s. Only now is it dawning on scientists what a big and general idea it implies: that learning itself consists of nothing more than switching genes on and off. The more we lift the lid on the genome, the more vulnerable to experience genes appear to be.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
What Makes You Who You Are
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay
Order a unique copy of this paper
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

At Solution Essays, we are determined to deliver high-quality papers to our clients at a fair price. To ensure this happens effectively, we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees. This guarantees will ensure you enjoy using our website which is secure and easy to use.

Money-back guarantee

Most companies do not offer a money-back guarantee but with Solution Essays, it’s either a quality paper or your money back. Our customers are assured of high-quality papers and thus there are very rare cases of refund requests due to quality concern.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

All our papers are written from scratch and according to your specific paper instructions. This minimizes any chance of plagiarism. The papers are also passed through a plagiarism-detecting software thus ruling out any chance of plagiarism.

Read more

Free-revision policy

We offer free revisions in all orders delivered as long as there is no alteration in the initial order instruction. We will revise your paper until you are fully satisfied with the order delivered to you.

Read more

Privacy policy

All data on our website is stored as per international data protection rules. This ensures that any personal data you share with us is stored safely. We never share your personal data with third parties without your consent.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

Ordering and sending money to us is an indication that you are purchasing our products and services. To have business talks laid out in the official language, you can check on our terms and conditions and get more information about this.

Read more

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
$26
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Urgency
Order your essay today and save 20% with the discount code: LEMONADEPlace Order
Live Chat+1(978) 822-0999EmailWhatsApp