Discussion: Epigenetics and Genetic Screening
Epigenetic influences mean that genetic expression can only be fully understood in the context of environment. Likewise, environmental influences may be quite different depending on the particular genes that are present. The intertwined effects of experience and gene expression have implications far beyond the theoretical questions of how cells in the developing brain interact with one another. As society approaches the era when anyone might be able to have their entire genome decoded for a modest price, and scientists learn more about which genetic variants can increase or decrease the risk of mental health disorders, there is a greater need for understanding how genes can impact the human mind. Many factors influence gene expression, but epigenetics provides a potential link between the environment and changes to gene expression.
In this Discussion, you will describe how information stored in a gene influences behavior and how environment and experience can impact the rate of gene expression. You will also consider the ethical implications of screening for genetic medical or psychological disorders.
- Review this weekâ€™s Learning Resources and pay particular attention to what genes are, how they affect behavior, and how epigenetics affects gene expression.
- As you are reading, think about the ethical considerations of using genetic screening for disorders.
Breedlove, S. M., & Watson, N. V. (2019). Behavioral neuroscience (9th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Chapter 7, â€œLife-Span Development of the Brain and Behaviorâ€
Appendix pages A1â€“A4 (Transcription/Translation)