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"You're Just Like Your Uncle Jim..."

Science & Tech  (tags: genetics, inherited personality, personality, DNA, famly traits, individualitty )

- 3648 days ago -
And you know, you might be, personality-wise, that is. Scientists are discovering that tendencies toward not just disease, but also individual characteristics of your personality, might be linked to your DNA.

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RC deWinter (418)
Saturday June 21, 2008, 11:18 pm
A quote from the article:
"We now have real evidence that some of the variation in personality is inherited," Dr. Pinker said, "and I think it may be affecting people's everyday choices."

So, is being a daredevil or a loner or having an addictive personality at least partly inherited? Scientists seem to think there is a stronger link to personality being shaped by genes than was ever considered in a quantifiable way.

This information can be helpful, but there is a darker side. What if we begin to be seen not by our whole selves but as the sum of our parts? Will DNA discrimination become a routine tool for employers, government entities, etc. in the future?

Hans L (958)
Saturday June 21, 2008, 11:41 pm
DNA discrimination will become a routine tool! Thats for sure!
And a great tool that you realy can rely on! Would be interesting to research the DNA of Care2! Maybe we can find out how we can start a wake up call for the more than 9.000.000 members in endless coma!
Thank you Cate!

Marian E (152)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 12:14 am

We've all known that we have "Dad's blue eyes" or "Mom's curly hair",
this is really no different. It's just a more scientific understanding
and explanation. I think it's great. The sooner we learn more about gene therapy, the sooner we can beat cancer, heart disease, all those pesky
life threatening illnesses that plague us. The risk of being labeled
as genetically susceptible to addiction or risk taking etc. is worth
it in my opinion.

Thank you Cate, really good news post!

Gail L (30)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 3:03 am
Noted and very true.

Elle J (276)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 3:54 am
Thank you Cate...good story

Past Member (0)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 5:46 am

Joycey B (750)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 5:56 am
Thanks for another great article Cate.

Gayle M (444)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 6:13 am
TY for a thoughtful story ....

Past Member (0)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 6:26 am
I'm a great believer in all we are is genetic...At least 99%.

Plant trees for life.......

Patti R (211)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 9:11 am
Thanx Cate...certainly makes you think and reflect..great article.

Blue Bunting (855)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 11:27 am
Dean Ornish, M.D. and researchers claim that you can "reprpgram" your DNA

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 12:26 pm

The title of this article cracked me up. My Uncle Jim was the black sheep of my mother's family!

Thanks, Cate.

Past Member (0)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 12:51 pm
How many of us have been told we are just like so and so!!

Oh.......How I'd love to pass this out to tribal members!!!!!!!

Your children will become what you are;
so be what you want them to be.
David Bly



. (0)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 1:13 pm
unfortunatly i have diabetis,high blood pressure from my mom so does one of my sisters the other sister has high blood pressure personality wise i am myself

Mara G (411)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 1:25 pm
OH NO!! NOT MY UNCLE JIM!! Anyone but him!! He was the one that "genetically" linked my family to the Buffalo!!

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 2:03 pm
The "elephant in the living room" here, that everyone is tippy-toeing around, afraid to mention, is, that DNA differences could be USED {as they once were} to justify racism, as in past centuries.
As an over-reaction to this thought, scientists have been mostly AFRAID to admit of there being real genetic differences, including for example, possible genetic differences in INTELLIGENCE.

As an antidote to previous racist attitudes, one should quickly note that 1] "race" is a SOCIAL, not a scientific, construct {example: what "race" is Obama? if he's half-black, he's EQUALLY half-white! What "race" is Tiger Woods?}. If you think about it a minute - "race" is, and always has been, nothing BUT a SOCIAL construct. {I.e., "One drop of black blood makes you black" and other such racist ideas. Or going by appearances. What "race" is a very light-skinned person with "black blood"? What "race" is their darker-skinned sibling from the same parents? a SOCIAL construct, you see!}

2] There are differences in KINDS of intelligence. And many or most of these differences are NOT measured in such things as IQ tests, which are ALSO social constructs. It is well known that IQ tests, however fiddled with and modified over the years, are still racist and sexist and culture-bound. If they measure anything, it is how well a person or a child happens to know mainstream {white, male, European} culture.

So to further eliminate the specter of racism -- it is also proven, that ALL so-called "races" have more shared genetic heritage than differences --there is really just one "race", the Human -- and that there is more genetic variation WITHIN what has been called a "race", than identicalness within the group {usually defined by "color"}.

That said, and I hope understood; it is still a FACT, noted by all early explorers, colonialists, and travellers as soon as world travel became possible -- that, in the days when people generally travelled less, and communities were more isolated, and intermarried and interbred, so that certain "gene pools" were formed --
there WERE in fact, great difference in "personalities" and capabilities of certain groups. Tho these may have been masked as "racial" differences, by people who didn't know any better; they were actually differences in a group's responding to its environment, leading to the SURVIVAL of certain genes, and the elimination or lesser importance of others.

These differences showed themselves in a more-or-less "closed" genetic group such as a tribe, village, clan, extended family, or region might be.
As one example: the area in Germany where Johann Sebastian Bach's family lived, for hundreds of years produced so many musicians with the last name "Bach", {obviously all the same family}, that in that area of Germany, the word "Bach" {which means "river"}, ALSO came to mean "musician". Many of JS Bach's sons were famous musicians also. OBVIOUSLY, a genetic component at work here! as also in the family of the Mozarts.

As a more negative example: in the folklore and "tall tales" of many European countries, and maybe countries and languages worldwide for all I know, there is a certain village or area or region that is known for its "stupidity". This could be based on something too! Is there a "stupid" gene or a "less smart" gene? If there are "smart" genes or "talented" genes, there could well be "bad" genes too! {Or perhaps so-called "stupidity" is just another means of survival that is not recognized by other groups that survive in different ways! It's difficult to imagine that a truly "bad" gene would lead to a group's survival!}

Another example would be "fat" genes. In areas where food supply was uncertain, a reserve of body fat would be a DESIRABLE thing to have. It would be considered "beauty" in a woman; she would be more likely to survive hard times and bear and raise healthy children; therefore, be a more desirable marriage partner.

To get into more tricky and touchy areas: the early colonialists were WELL AWARE of genetic differences between tribes and groups of people they encountered. The early colonialists were often upper-class horse breeders and dog breeders and cattle breeders; and, they bred their slaves for certain "traits" just like their animals. That is, they were aware that people from certain tribes were "smarter" or "more docile" or "more hard-working" -- and ordered their slave-dealers to get slaves according to their tribes of origin! This, like it or not, IS historical fact. There were also tribes of African people that were "more aggressive" and "more likely to revolt" and made less desirable slaves! While of course MANY of these differences could be regarded as CULTURAL -- the slave-masters thought otherwise! and recognised a genetic component; as it was very much in their economic and personal interest to do so.

And in India during the Raj, the British colonialists ALSO recognized village and tribal and regional genetic differences, in those that they drafted to be their servants and civil servants and soldiers. {Again, differences in qualities of intelligence, "war-like-ness", obedience, etc. etc. etc. It is found often mentioned in the literature of the time.}

As a less horrible example: in past centuries when people travelled less outside nearby boundaries, in travel literature of the time there is much talk of a "French personality", "English personality", "Swedish personality", "Parisian personality", etc.etc. Again, many of these differences would be cultural. But, at the time, people certainly BELIEVED that they saw a genetic component also. And that these traits were inheritable. {You see that in nearly all biographies written at the time.}

As I stated, this got all mixed up with racism and sexism and lack of awareness of the importance of CULTURE.
However, it makes LOGICAL sense. Darwinism, "survival of the fittest", no? The idea of the "fittest" being, those most adaptable to the particular environment, would be more likely to hand down their genes -- in humans just as in animals!

So, this article potentially opens up a whole can of worms -- unless people see it in the modern light of de-constructing the old paradigms of so-called "race" and "racism"!
Now that people travel all over the place -- and intermarry and interbreed all over the place -- it seems to be only DNA testing that can truly figure out your genetic heritage, rather than what isolated valley all your ancestors for hundreds of years came from!

I hope we can honor and recognize the MANY DIFFERENT qualities in people; ALL of which led to their {our!} ancestors' survival in a difficult past!

Barb Knight (1688)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 2:38 pm
I've always been privvy to personalities being a part of the DNA process. I act more like my Mama and my Granny everyday. And of course, a whole bunch of other family members. I believe Karma has a LOT to do with DNA too!! Thnx Cate, noted.

Yvonne White (229)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 2:38 pm
BMutiny, that's why ALL forms of discrimination have to be abolished.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 2:51 pm
I couldn't get the Dean Ornish link to "reprogramming" DNA.

It is an interesting thought. And should not be impossible -- as it was once thought to be. {From what we know about behavior of sub-atomic particles!}

If it is possible, that in a way would justify Lamarkianism -- an earlier theory which used to be opposed to Darwinism.
The way Lamarkianism was presented, "The giraffe's neck got longer because the giraffe stretched it to get food; and each generation that stretched its neck, somehow imprinted on its cellular structure and passed down that stretch to the next generation".

Darwinism would be, "Those giraffes with longer necks reached more food in the upper branches of trees, where there was less competition for it from other animals. In each generation, only the giraffes with the longest necks survived -- and passed on that trait to their descendents".

It is an interesting thought, that BOTH may be possible -- and not mutually exclusive paths!

Lamarkianism has gotten a very bad rap over the years.
I wish I could find that link to the article!

That seems to mean, if I get smarter or more spiritual or more peace-loving -- I could indeed pass on those traits to my kids in my genes..........
Quite a revolutionary thought!
Means one could, by CONSCIOUSLY EDUCATING AND DISCIPLINING oneself, really change the world........

Tim Redfern (581)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 3:30 pm
DNA discrimination will happen, no doubt,
especially now that the human genome has
been mapped. We will see the first of
this discrimination come from insurance
companies, and then from employers and
prospective employers.

Anything is possible when discussing genetics.
I a couple weeks from now, I'll be getting the
results of a blood test which will finally and
conclusivelly show whether I have Systemic Lupus.
Personally, I believe I do, and that I've had it
for almost 2 years now.
Systemic Lupus is extremely rare in men; only 10%
of Lupus patients are men, and there are 1.5 million
Lupus patients in the U.S., so if I have it, I will
be one of only about 150,000 men in a country of
300 million to have the disease.
HOWEVER, my late mother had Systemic Lupus for 33
years before her passing last year. I have every
symptom she had, and my health has declined as hers
did in the 1st 2 years after she was diagnosed in
1974. Where genetics are concerned, it's all a crap-shoot.

Thanks, Cate!

Carolyn T (234)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 5:14 pm
Noted. A thought-provoking read and interesting commentary here. Having just returned home from a few days in Texas and hearing countless times how much like my late mother was, made this a particularly meaningful article to me. I can only say that I hope that I am like her...she was much loved by many people and is already greatly missed. Thank you, Cate.

Past Member (0)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 5:36 pm
B. Mutiny.....Your comments are very true.
However one might change themselves in spite of genetic destiny would be quite an undertanking although very possible with constant rememberance to change or training.

But, as for all of humanity it would be nearly impossible to manipulate genetics & personal beliefs towards a total change. Perhaps a 50% of change in the individual or small group.

There is still so much we do not know or understand how we have become as we are as opposed to how animals are.

Trees will grow wherever you plant them............

Blacktiger P (247)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 5:58 pm
My oldest daughter was given into adoption. When she was 20 I found her, and people who now know us both cannot tell which is which on the phone. We laugh and giggle alike, I have a brown mark on the inside of my right thigh, my girl has the identical mark on her left thigh on the front, equal to where my right sits on my left, when crossed. Many mannerisms are alike as well.

Past Member (0)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 9:08 pm
Thanks for this submission Cate.

I've always thought I was something of a mutant in my family tree

I'm the only liberal in a family of conservatives. I'm also the only one with light brown eyes and softer straighter hair.

I'm also the only one who's skydived and bungee jumped;in the same; I've never done that again.

I'm sure I get my nature from someone in my family, I just don't know how far back.

Past Member (0)
Sunday June 22, 2008, 9:18 pm
Well.....Maybe genes change over time, who is to know.
When I was much younger I was extremely shy....Kind of afraid of my own shadow. But, now not too much afraid of anything.

Life experiences must be good for something wether genetic or not!

Trees will grow anywhere.....Plant them.......


Mary H (47)
Monday June 23, 2008, 9:43 am
Wonderful article -- ty Cate

Denice G (45)
Wednesday June 25, 2008, 2:44 pm
Very good read. Makes you think. Noted
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