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Genetics: Why Children Aren't Just Like Their Parents

Posted September 26, 2007 10:27 AM

From Health & Science - International Herald Tribune:

As we learn more about genetics, a simple fact remains: the great majority of things parents care about passing on to their children are complex traits, affected by multiple genes and the environment. Our lives and health remain - for the most part - beyond our powers to predict. And our children's lives, with their mishmash of father's and mother's lineage, so much the more so. Even where children's genes look identical to their parents, their bodies and minds could well differ, influenced by many other factors, including the portions of the parents' DNA that don't code for genes, their environment, and their behavior. I am the dark-haired, brown-eyed mother of two blond, blue-eyed children. In airports and parks, I expect to be mistaken for their nanny. My abdominal scars can attest that they are my biological children and were built using some of "my" genes. But we are not Mendel's peas, and the more we learn about genomics, the less pea-like we seem.

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