Saturday, October 11, 2008

our profound environment*

When I sit down to write these blogs it’s always hard to get started. I think it’s stupid of me because there’s biology going on all around me, I myself contain millions of biological processes and yet it seems to take forever for something to come to mind. But here we go. Do you ever wonder how & why your DNA was fashioned together to make you the way you are? Or how exactly your environment has impacted your genetics? I do. The other day my younger brother & I were in the living room standing around talking while listening to this song playing off his ipod /stereo. Well at this one point in the song we both stopped what we were doing and randomly busted out in our own little dance move. It was funny because we didn’t mean to do it at exactly the same time & we hadn’t planned it at all. It just sort of happened that we felt like moving at the exact same moment. Sometimes we are so similar but other times he’s like on the opposite end of the spectrum. I think our environment has greatly influenced our genetic make up and so that’s why we’re often in synchronous. I know runs deeper than that, but biologically that’s the only explanation I can give for those weird instances. This whole environmental impact stuff reminds me of this episode I saw on PBS one morning. I can clearly remember scenes of a hospital nursery room being shown while the narrator spoke about how it is really difficult to tell the sex of a baby who’s wrapped comfortably in a receiving blanket. I thought about it for a second, and found the observation to be true, girl or boy, they all pretty much looked very similar-little eyelids, noses, toothless gums, small mouths yawning, taking a breath. The narrator went on to discuss how as we move on into childhood, adolescence and adulthood, our environment influences us to give us our own perceptions of what it means to be female or male. We adjust, in our own ways to fit the mold. We grow up to play soccer and avoid crying/showing emotion if born male; wear dresses and agree with Oprah if born female. I remember giving a presentation on schizophrenia last semester. My focus was on determining whether the causes of developing schizophrenia had more to do with ones genetics or on their environmental influences or maybe a combination of the two. Based on the studies I looked at, it was both factors coming together and interacting in a particular way to result in what we call schizophrenia. Sometimes one identical twin developed it, while the other did not. It was the first time I had encountered case studies & so information like that fascinated me. Now I’ve come to know that identical twins are often studied in order to try to understand the genetics behind a number of debilitating disorders or diseases, but I still find it an interesting subject. I think our environments impact us in ways that we are only just starting to understand.

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