Nature vs. Nurture

This  debate has been going on for ages so I thought I would say what I think on the matter 🙂

In my opinion, there can be no doubt that the phenotype, or characteristics of an organism are due to an interaction between genes and the environment. In my mind, the debate should be centered on what extent the genes or environment play in the development of an individual.

Everyone knows that some people are exceptionally musical, and can hear a piece of music, for example, and play it back on the piano, or whatever instrument they excel at. However, say  someone had never encountered a musical instrument before. For example, a child living in a remote part of the Amazon. This child could have a genetic inclination towards playing an instrument, but without the tools, i.e. without the correct environment, this characteristic is not shown, and the child could be fairly average in every other aspect of character.

This idea can be applied to nearly every other subject: how can a maths genius be a maths genius without knowledge of numbers; how can someone adept at languages be a ‘language genius’ if they are not taught any language; how can someone who is ‘born to perform’ be a confident performer if they are never put onto a stage?

However, I think the basis of an individual’s characteristics are most definitely their genes. One cannot dispute that an incredibly clever husband and wife who have children will not have ‘clever children’ with similar IQs, unless a severe change in the environment changes this.

It is quite interesting to look at the correlation coefficients for IQs in different children, i.e. twins who were separated at birth and raised in different environments, or adopted children. This website shows this information quite well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_versus_nurture#IQ_debate

NB: 

  • Correlation coefficient of 1 means a strong positive correlation
  • Correlation coefficient of 0 means no correlation
  • Correlation coefficient of -1 means strong negative correlation

I also believe that everything everybody has the ability to change what their genetic path, or environmental inclination may be, so long as they have the tenacity to succeed in what they want to do 😀

Social Network Confusion

The thought behind this thought was seeing people using hashtags on twitter. I think it’s important for people to make sure they use all their different social networks for different purposes, otherwise you’re just creating more confusion in your already hectic life. Therefore I have composed a list of social network thing-me-bobs:

  • Facebook. This is the one EVERYONE has, and it is your basic social networking tool. Used primarily for statuses, events and messaging, but photos and videos can also be viewed.
  • Twitter. This is basically only if you want to tell people what is happening in your life RIGHT NOW, or for pop star fandom to take place. Photos can be used, but only if they make what your trying to say more understandable. I would tend to use hashtags only on twitter. USE HASHTAGS CAUTIOUSLY ON OTHER WEBSITES. They can be seen as cool, but can be annoying to some people. I often think twitter is less emotional than facebook but I suppose it depends.
  • Instagram. ONLY PHOTOS! Literally no emotion, but photos can be a great way to show people into your life/be funny. HOWEVER I think you can only use them on iPhone 😥
  • Pintrest. Not entirely sure what this does but I think it involves pinning stuff about your life on a sort of online pin board. Sounds cool but only for the hard-core online socialites.
  • Tumblr. I am fairly sure that this is where you use gifs and things to create a blog. Sounds fairly cool, but I don’t have enough time for it.
  • Blogs. These are super cool 😉

I suppose in the end your social networking life can be anything you want it to be, but the most important thing to do is make sure you have something INTERESTING to say, so get out there and LIVE YOUR LIFE!!! 😀 Then you can make a tumblr post about it……

Snails hint at an intriguing human migration

Image

Snails are providing clues to early human migration

Yep, the humble snail has captivated scientists once more!! A genetic similarity has been found between snail living in Ireland and those living in southern Europe, such as southern France and northern Spain

This evidence gives further weight to the fact that the population of Ireland may have originated from settlers who migrated from places other than Britain. The snails are thought to have been carried by the French on a boat, but whether or not the sailors had them as a snack (the French still eat snails, ew) or the snails just accidentally found themselves on the boat is unclear.

Other evidence that suggests the some Irish could have French/Spanish ancestry includes blood groups, the Y chromosomes, and also in some diseases.

The snail is not found in England, Scotland or Wales, which suggests that the immigrants knew they only wanted to settle in one place, or they perhaps just did not reach the UK.

More information about this can be found here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0065792

If you were suddenly independently wealthy…

The View From the Shard

The View From the Shard (Photo credit: EG Focus)

At The View from the Shard

At The View from the Shard (Photo credit: ser_is_snarkish)

If you were suddenly independently wealthy, how would you spend your time? What positive change would you bring to the world?

Firstly I think I would pay off every students student debt! Then I would buy a flat in London as it is a super cool place and I love that ‘city buzz’ feeling 🙂

In terms of charity I think educating people is of huge importance. The places in  the world with the best quality of life are almost always those where a high percentage of people have got a good degree (not necessarily a ‘degree’ though!) of education.

Apart from that I would spend a cheeky £25 pounds to go to the top of the shard 😀

The View From the Shard

The View From the Shard (Photo credit: EG Focus)

Sooo, finished exams and started a blog:)

I have finished my exams hoorah!! 😀 Now, to fill my time I have started a blog. AND THIS IS MY FIRST POST (and it’s going to be about naked mole rat)

I think most people’s reaction to naked mole rats is ew, but I think there’s something so innocent and ever so slightly charming about them… in their own unique way?! I find it very interesting, the way that they live in colonies (like termites and ants) but, being mammals, they are so much more developed. They have virtually the same hierarchical system to these insect colonies, i.e. a queen who is the only individual to give birth, and all the rest are workers/soldiers. HOWEVER, the thing I wanted to write about is their possible help in finding a cure to cancer…

Naked mole rats don’t get cancer. Yep astonishing as it might sound, they can indeed live to the grand old age of 30! That’s quite a lot longer than your average hamster! Scientists from America, China and Israel have identified the compound, called hyaluronan, a sugary substance, in cultured skin cells from the rodents, and believe that this is the key to their cancer-fighting abilities.

Astonishingly, this is not the first time people have been aware of this molecule. It is used to alleviate pain from arthritis and is even found in anti-wrinkle creams. Yep your avon face cream may in fact have a cure to cancer in it!!!

What has also become evident is that this molecule did not evolve because it gave the organism that carried it a defense against cancer. The acquisition of this molecule was favoured because it gave the mole rat a distinctive elastic skin which it needs to squeeze through underground tunnels and chambers.

For more information on this topic, there was an article published in nature about it 🙂 Thanks for reading