Tag Archives: American

American, in my genes?

Over the last few years I have begun to wonder how many of our human differences are actually heritable. Specifically: if Americans, both North and South, are and are growing biologically different from the descendants those who didn’t leave their home countries.
It’s not as silly as it might first sound. We’re only beginning to scratch the full complexity of our biochemical nature, and how our nurture affects it — but it is becoming clear to science that what happens to our bodies can affect what a given gene does, from turning it off to changing its products; and, that we can pass on those effects to the bodies we create.
But how far into our individual natures does this heritability go?
Two people, even two siblings, endure the same heartbreaking war or famine, or are ruled by the same invader or dictatorship. One emigrates, the other doesn’t. Why? You can’t say there’s no biochemical component, so you can’t say there’s no genetic one. And if by emigrating, a person continues to live long enough to breed, or eats a vastly improved diet (even to the point of getting fat, with those additional biochemical changes) — and if their children breed with children of people from other regions, who also left their homes? Continue reading