Mice, Men, and Fate

Posted on May 17, 2013

Almost fifteen years ago, in a book called “Chance, Development, and Aging,” the gerontologists Caleb Finch and Thomas Kirkwood described a truly elegant study of biology: a batch of roundworms, all genetically identical, raised on identical diets of agar. Despite having identical genetics and near-identical environments, some worms lived far longer than others. The lesson? The classical equation of “life = nature + nurture” had left out chance.

Of course, that was just worms. This week, a team of German researchers, led by Gerd Kempermann, built on a similar logic and announced in Science that they had raised forty inbred mice that were essentially genetically identical in a single complex environment, and used radio-frequency identification (RFID) implants to track every moment of their lives. Nobody could ever ethically run that sort of controlled experiment with humans, but Kempermann’s study provides convincing evidence that—in a fellow mammal with which we share a basic brain organization—neither genetic identity nor a shared environment is enough to guarantee a common fate. Different creatures, even from the same species, can grow up differently, and develop significantly different brains—even if their genomes are identical, and even if their environments are, too.

Click on the link below to read more


Category(s):Adult psychological development, Child Development, Individuation

Source material from The New Yorker


Mental Health News

  • To what extent is it Emotional Abuse?

    newsthumbThis article helps us identify what is deemed as emotional abuse, when and how is an action or situation a form of emotional abuse.

  • Inequality as a disorder

    newsthumbEconomic inequality is one of the signs that foreshadows societal disorder. It can also negatively impact people’s lives and is highly associated ...

  • The Truth about Psychopaths

    newsthumbThis article talks about the common misconceptions people have about psychopaths and who they really are, what type of person they are and what drew ...