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Is Genetics or the Environment Most Important in Determining Who Our Kids Will Be?

Highlights from November 23, 2011 Creating a Family radio show

The nature vs. nurture debate is particularly relevant to parents through adoption, egg donation, sperm donation, or embryo donation.  How do genes and the environment affect intelligence, IQ, behavior, temperament, weight, substance abuse, mental illness, and depression. What have the leading researchers in this field found? Our guests are Sally Ann Rhea, who has been the Study Coordinator for 25 years for one of the most renown adoption research projects in the world, the Colorado Adoption Project. The focus of this project is investigating genetic and environmental influences on human behavior.  And Dr. Alexandra Burt, Associate Professor of Behavioral Genetics with affiliation with the Michigan State University Twin Registry and a research focuses on the role of genes and the environment interplay in the development of anti-social development. 

  • 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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I listen to your radio shows daily on my iPod while cleaning, exercising, driving etc. I've learned so much from it, that today in the foster- adopt support group I felt like an all knowing expert, despite the fact, that I have zero experience in the field. Thank you for a wonderful resource! I am spreading the word. ~G. Longley

Thank you so much for your radio show! I was just listening to it, and it's very informative. My husband and I are in the process of adoption, so we read a lot to be able to make informed decisions. Your website is a great resource for us! ~N.M.W.

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I LOVE your show, it's the most helpful, unbiased information I’ve found about infertility and adoption and I'm so thankful for you and your organization. Keep up the fantastic work, you are changing lives. ~ Amanda

So I would like to introduce to you....Z. V.. She is now 11 weeks old. She came from a lovely perfect little frozen embryo, from our 4th round of IVF (2 fresh cycles and 2 FET)...more  ~A. Houston

I'm just writing to say that I've downloaded another bunch of your podcasts onto my iPhone and while I listen to them on my daily commute I silently
thank you for doing such a good job and conducting such brilliant interviews!!!...
more   ~G. Marino

Although you don't know us from Adam, I wanted to drop a line and thank you for the amazing info, sound advice, and encouragement you offer to adoptive and prospective adoptive parents.  We just received our pre-approval for our daughter, W, from China!  You (in book, website, blog, and podcast form) have been there every step of the way in this journey.  ~ J. & C. Morningstar

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My husband and I are parents through adoption to THE three most incredible children in the world. All via newborn domestic transracial.  I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed and benefitted from your web site.  I often refer potential adoptive parents who ask me for advice to your site. I especially enjoy your radio shows and today’s show on "Knowing When to Move from Infertility to Adoption" particularly resonated with me. ~N. Ferrari

I have loved, loved this radio show. It has been hands down the most helpful resource on this often painful and confusing journey. ~ R. Butler

I have been listening to lots of your radio shows of late. Great guests and very enlightening always. Thanks so much for keeping us up with the latest.  ~ W. & M. Welch

I just wanted you to know what a tremendous resource and blessing your podcasts have been to my wife and I as we prepare to travel early next month to pick up our new 17 month old son from Colombia...more
~ M. & L. Oakes


I just wanted to share my story since Creating a Family pod casts were so helpful to me when I was infertile. It really helped knowing I wasn't alone and could get the most updated information on my condition. I am almost 32 years old and I have been trying to get pregnant for 6 long years...more ~ J. Mendenhall

 

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We are awaiting the arrival of our child from Ethiopia. I recently took a road trip and downloaded 9 hours of the Creating a Family podcasts and listened to them all. I learned so much. Thanks.        ~J. Madine 

Just home from adopting our son in Colombia. He and we are doing great. Your site and especially podcasts were a tremendous resource to us personally, as well as for a reason we didn't ever expect...more  

~ M. and L. Oakes

 

 

 

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