Adoptive parents want to understand nature vs. nurture or genetics vs. environment in the context of adoption. How much can adoptive parents influence how their children turn out? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Sally Ann Rhea, the study coordinator for the Colorado Adoption Project, and Dr. Alexandra Burt, Associate Professor of behavioral genetics with affiliation with the Michigan State University Twin Registry.

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  • How do you design studies to tease out in real life subjects the relative influences of genes and environment?
  • Is it nature VS. nurture or nature AND nurture.
  • What traits are more inherited?
  • What traits are more influenced by the environment?
  • How much of intelligence or IQ or cognitive development are controlled or influenced by genetics. How similar in intelligence are adopted children or children from egg donation, sperm donation, or embryo donation to their genetic donor or birth parent?
  • How much of a child’s temperament or personality controlled or influenced by genetics. How similar in intelligence are adopted children or children from egg donation, sperm donation, or embryo donation to their genetic donor or birth parent?
  • How do genes affect behavior?
  • How heritable is substance abuse, alcoholism, and addiction?
  • How likely is it that your child through adoption or egg donation, sperm donation, or embryo donation to have a substance abuse problem if it was in their donor’s or birth parents family history?
  • Which mental illnesses are genetically inherited? Bi polar? Schizophrenia? Obsessive compulsive disorder? Anxiety Disorder?
  • Is anti-social behavior inherited?
  • Is risk taking behavior inherited?
  • Is ADHD inherited or genetically controlled?
  • Is obesity controlled by environment or genes?
  • Why are children in the same family so different from one another?
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Image credit: Heather
 
Show originally aired in 2011.