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Home » Courtney Griffins: Epigenetics and The Influence of Our Genes at TEDxOU (Transcript)

Courtney Griffins: Epigenetics and The Influence of Our Genes at TEDxOU (Transcript)

Courtney Griffins at TEDxOU

Here is the full transcript and summary of gene researcher Courtney Griffins’ TEDx Talk: Epigenetics and The Influence of Our Genes at TEDxOU conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio:


Nine years ago, I found myself in a doctor’s office, contemplating the nature versus nurture debate from a fresh perspective. You see, I had been trained as a geneticist and had spent my career manipulating DNA and seeing the profound consequences in a lab setting, so I’d always put my money more on the nature, or the genetic side of the debate.

But, as my doctor revealed to me that I was pregnant with identical twins, I realized that my convictions were about to be put to the test. For starters, we had not budgeted on two daycare bills at once. So I kind of half-jokingly started to wonder what would be the consequences maybe, if we just sent one twin to daycare and maybe just kind of tuck the other one in my office drawer during the workday. Despite their identical DNA, I somehow doubted that things would turn out all that well for the twin in the office drawer.

Identical twins have had a profound impact on scientists’ understanding of nature and nurture. Studies on identical twins who were separated at birth and raised in separate households have helped us understand different traits that are more affected by nature, or DNA, versus nurture, or the home environment.

For example, some traits, like IQ or criminal tendencies, are more affected by your DNA than the house that you grew up in. On the other hand, other traits, like depression in men, or your preference for a particular political party, are more influenced by your environment than by your genes.

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