Child and Adolescent Development

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Genes and Genetic Disorders

PSY 104

October 29, 2011

Genes and Genetic Disorders
When answering the question, “How does a child develop?” it is impossible to determine each individual influence that decides who a child becomes (Hamosh, Scott, Amberger, Bocchini, & McKusick, 2005). What can be determined are the most obvious influences, which are genetics, parenting, experiences, friends, and family relationships. These factors play the biggest roles in a child’s development, and can be combined in an infinite number of ways (Hamosh, Scott, Amberger, Bocchini, & McKusick, 2005). As a child develops, a mixture of genetic inheritance and life experience shapes the person that he grows up to be. The exact recipe of that mixture, though, is unknown and has puzzled philosophers, psychologists, and educators for hundreds of years (Hamosh, Scott, Amberger, Bocchini, & McKusick, 2005). This is the nature versus nurture debate, and it asks the question, “Are we the result of nature (our genetic background) or nurture (our environment)?” (Hamosh, Scott, Amberger, Bocchini, & McKusick, 2005). From the moment a child is born, nurturing joins nature in the role of shaping who the child is and who he will become (Hamosh, Scott, Amberger, Bocchini, & McKusick, 2005). Nature, though, begins doing its job at the moment of conception. Genetics is the science of inheritance and its goal is to understand the method by which two parents influence the traits of an offspring, and to understand how abnormalities can contribute to genetic disorders, such as Huntington’s Disease.

Genes play a vital role in determining a person’s physical traits and health. A person’s genetic code is established when the mother’s egg, or ovum, combines with the father’s sperm (Mossler, 2011). The ovum and the sperm are called the sex or reproductive cells, and the cell that is formed after their union is comprised of duplication instructions that will ultimately turn one...
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