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Behavioural genetics

– History of Behavioural Genetics: – Selective breeding and domestication of animals show early consideration of natural causes for individual behavior differences. – Plato and […]

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– History of Behavioural Genetics:
– Selective breeding and domestication of animals show early consideration of natural causes for individual behavior differences.
– Plato and Aristotle speculated on inheritance of behavioral characteristics.
– William Shakespeare possibly introduced the phrase “nature versus nurture” in “The Tempest.”
– Sir Francis Galton initiated modern-day behavioral genetics with studies on human abilities and mental characteristics.
– Galton’s work led to debates on the roles of genes and environment in behavior.

– Key Figures in Behavioural Genetics:
– Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, founded the field in the 19th century.
– Galton’s pedigree study on social and intellectual achievement highlighted the heritability of traits.
– Galton introduced multivariate analysis and modern Bayesian statistics.
– Galton’s work initiated the Statistical Enlightenment.
– Galton’s contributions led to debates on the relative roles of genes and environment in behavior.

– Impact of Technological Advances:
– Technological advancements in molecular genetics allowed direct measurement and modification of the genome.
– Advances led to breakthroughs in model organism research, such as knockout mice.
– Genome-wide association studies in humans led to new scientific discoveries.
– Research on inheritance of behavior and mental illness in humans saw renewed prominence.
– Advances in technology improved the understanding of genetic and environmental influences on behavior.

– Findings in Behavioural Genetic Research:
– Nearly all researched behaviors show significant genetic influence.
– Genetic influence tends to increase as individuals develop into adulthood.
– Most human behaviors are influenced by a large number of genes with small individual effects.
– Environmental influences make family members more different from each other, not more similar.
– Research findings have broad implications for understanding genetic and environmental influences on behavior.

– Role of Eugenics in Behavioural Genetics:
– Sir Francis Galton’s work on eugenics in the 20th century undermined the field of behavioral genetics.
– Eugenics aimed to improve genetic quality by selective breeding.
– Galton’s eugenics movement influenced societal perceptions of genetics and behavior.
– The eugenics movement led to controversial practices and associations with behavioral genetics.
– Galton’s contributions to eugenics sparked debates on ethical considerations in genetic research.

Behavioural genetics (Wikipedia)

Behavioural genetics, also referred to as behaviour genetics, is a field of scientific research that uses genetic methods to investigate the nature and origins of individual differences in behaviour. While the name "behavioural genetics" connotes a focus on genetic influences, the field broadly investigates the extent to which genetic and environmental factors influence individual differences, and the development of research designs that can remove the confounding of genes and environment. Behavioural genetics was founded as a scientific discipline by Francis Galton in the late 19th century, only to be discredited through association with eugenics movements before and during World War II. In the latter half of the 20th century, the field saw renewed prominence with research on inheritance of behaviour and mental illness in humans (typically using twin and family studies), as well as research on genetically informative model organisms through selective breeding and crosses. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, technological advances in molecular genetics made it possible to measure and modify the genome directly. This led to major advances in model organism research (e.g., knockout mice) and in human studies (e.g., genome-wide association studies), leading to new scientific discoveries.

Findings from behavioural genetic research have broadly impacted modern understanding of the role of genetic and environmental influences on behaviour. These include evidence that nearly all researched behaviours are under a significant degree of genetic influence, and that influence tends to increase as individuals develop into adulthood. Further, most researched human behaviours are influenced by a very large number of genes and the individual effects of these genes are very small. Environmental influences also play a strong role, but they tend to make family members more different from one another, not more similar.

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