Nature versus Nurture: The Development of a Clone

Nature versus nurture has long been an issue especially with the rise of cloning technology. Scientists are now very close to possibly cloning the very first human being but many ethical concerns prevent scientists from further experiments that would forward human cloning technology. However, one question arises if human cloning would become successful. Would the clone grow to be an exact replica of the gene donor? The clone will have the same physical and mental capacity from the original person since the genes are a determinant of such characteristics, but will the clone develop the same personality or traits?

There is still no ground or evidence to prove which side is true but some studies point to genes as a determinant of some traits and personality but external factors are never to be ruled out since it is also proven to affect human development. It is clear that physical characteristics are dictated by your genes and you cannot do anything about it but there is no evidence that areas such as personality and talent are predetermined with the genetic code that you possess. Humans still do not know what extent genes play a role in the development of the human being but it is clear that both nature and nurture play vital roles.

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To clearly understand the scenario, the two theories must be identified. The nature theory indicates that the genetic code dictates the development of a person while the nurture theory indicates that human development is not purely genetic in nature and is altered by external forces (Powell, 2006). Scientists are now trying to identify whether there are genes that predict certain behaviors like addiction, talent, depression and violent nature. Recent studies showed that genes do affect the behavior of people. Some recent discoveries are the following: the CYP2A6 gene dictates how much a person smokes.

There is also an 80 percent risk that Alzheimer’s disease will be developed from genetic factors. Sprinters also have a different gene variant compared to endurance runners. Even alcoholism is genetic as scientists discovered that there are twenty genes that could possibly cause excessive drinking. Scientists however do not rule out other external factors that could affect alcoholism (Bryner, 2006). However, despite of scientific findings that support the nature theory, evidence also indicates that as more evidence that support the nature theory comes up, more evidence is also discovered that support the nurture theory.

In June 2006, the Mayo Clinic discovered that the development of Parkinson’s disease is more likely developed in men because of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals while women get the disease primarily because of genetic factors (Bryner, 2006). A study done at the University of Southern California indicate that women have a higher tendency to be affected by environmental factors in taking the first smoke while men are more affected by genetic factors (Bryner, 2006). Anti-social behavior has also been traced to be affected by genetic material instead of external factors.

According to Terrie Moffitt of London’s Kings College, people who have been exposed to childhood maltreatment do not necessarily constitute anti-social behavior. Research has indicated that anti-social behavior is caused by the monoamine oxidase A genes. Those with active genes of this type were found to be unaffected by maltreatment and they develop no anti-social behavior. The research further indicates that a person must have the low-active gene and must experience maltreatment to develop anti-social behavior.

From this example, we may state that nature and nurture are both determinants of anti-social behavior (Ridley, 2003). Likewise, learning and mental capacity have always been known to be a determined by genetic factors. Learning cannot however take place on its own. It is triggered by outside influences. For example, no matter how high the mental capacity an infant may have, the infant will not learn to talk the human tongue if he/she is not exposed to humans (Ridley, 2003).

As it turns out, both nature and nurture play a part in determining the overall development of a person. Genes have been proven to be the primary factors for determining physical growth but physical growth could not also be sustained if there are no external factors such as nutrition. A person’s nutrition intake undoubtedly affects his physical and mental development. A clone would develop the same way that the original person developed if they are exposed to virtually the same external factors.

Both theories have been found to play a role in the development of the human being, thus, the debate should not come to an end. All must agree that nature and nurture are dependent on each other. Two people even with the same genetic code raised in two contrasting environments would most likely grow differently and adopt different personalities. Even if a clone has the same genetic code from the gene donor, the clone will have unique characteristics since it is impossible for the two to have the same life experiences unless they are in a controlled environment.

References

http://genealogy.about.com/cs/geneticgenealogy/a/nature_nurture.htm

http://www.livescience.com/4168-nature-nurture-mysteries-individuality-unraveled.html