Heritability: Twin and Behavioral Genetics Research

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Why are twin studies valuable in behavioral genetics research? -Twin studies are valuable in behavioral genetics research because of the argument of nature versus nurture. If 2 twins, particularly identical twins, raised the exact same way turn out very differently, it is because there is something different in them genetically that determines their differences. What does the research say about the effect of environment on IQ scores in poor homes versus affluent homes? What does this suggest? -Among poor families, children who grew up in the same home tended to have similar IQ scores, regardless of how genetically similar they were. Around 60 percent of the variance was accounted for by environment, while genes contributed almost nothing. Among affluent families, they found that the exact opposite was true. Monozygotic twins with identical genes tended to have much more similar IQ scores than dizygotic twins, regardless of family environment. The findings of this study suggest that it does not make sense to speak in general about the heritability of a trait such as somebody’s IQ. For large populations of people who live in diverse environments, such as children living in the United States, such broad statements may be meaningless. The environment can make genes extremely important in some subpopulations, but insignificant in others.

What is the conclusion of the article? How might these findings be useful to other researchers? -The conclusion is that the findings of the study do not challenge the traditional definition of heritability. Although, this can help other researchers by being a reminder that heritability can vary dramatically, depending on the population and the environment that is being studied.
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