Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are

Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are

by Robert Plomin

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A top behavioral geneticist makes the case that DNA inherited from our parents at the moment of conception can predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses.

In Blueprint, behavioral geneticist Robert Plomin describes how the DNA revolution has made DNA personal by giving us the power to predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses from birth. A century of genetic research shows that DNA differences inherited from our parents are the consistent life-long sources of our psychological individuality—the blueprint that makes us who we are. This, says Plomin, is a game changer.

Plomin has been working on these issues for almost fifty years, conducting longitudinal studies of twins and adoptees. He reports that genetics explains more of the psychological differences among people than all other factors combined. Genetics accounts for fifty percent of psychological differences—not just mental health and school achievement but all psychological traits, from personality to intellectual abilities. Nature, not nurture is what makes us who we are.

Plomin explores the implications of this, drawing some provocative conclusions—among them that parenting styles don't really affect children's outcomes once genetics is taken into effect. Neither tiger mothers nor attachment parenting affects children's ability to get into Harvard. After describing why DNA matters, Plomin explains what DNA does, offering readers a unique insider's view of the exciting synergies that came from combining genetics and psychology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262350617
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 11/20/2018
Series: The MIT Press
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 1,197,240
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Robert Plomin is Professor of Behavioural Genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King's College London. He previously held positions at the University of Colorado Boulder and Pennsylvania State University. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and of the British Academy for his twin studies and his groundbreaking work in behavioral genetics. He is the author or coauthor of many books, including G is for Genes: The Impact of Genetics on Education and Achievement (with Kathryn Asbury).

Table of Contents

Prologue vii

Part 1 Why DNA matters

1 Disentangling nature and nurture 3

2 How do we know that DNA makes us who we are? 12

3 The nature of nurture 32

4 DNA matters more as time goes by 52

5 Abnormal is normal 58

6 Generalist genes 66

7 Why children in the same family are so different 71

8 The DNA blueprint 81

9 Equal opportunity and meritocracy 93

Part 2 The DNA revolution

10 DNA: The basics 109

11 Gene-hunting 120

12 The DNA fortune teller 134

13 Predicting who we are 148

14 Our future is DNA 161

Epilogue 185

Afterword to the paperback edition 189

Notes 201

Acknowledgements 261

Index 263

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