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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.

For this week’s Discussion, you examine the relationship between environment and gene expression, and consider ethical implications of genetic screening for medical and psychological disorders.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4a description of how environment and experience might impact gene expression. Explain why possessing a gene making one vulnerable to disease does not necessarily result in developing the disease. Finally, describe two ethical considerations when using genetic screening for medical and psychological disorders. Support your postings and responses with specific references to the literature and Learning Resources.

Readings

  • Breedlove, S. M., & Watson, N. V. (2018). Behavioral neuroscience(8th ed.) New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    • Chapter 7, “Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior”
  • Jacobson, K. (2009). Considering interactions between genes, environments, biology, and social context. Psychological Science Agenda, 23(4).
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Lebel, C., Roussotte, F., & Sowell, E. R. (2011). Imaging the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure on the structure of the developing human brain. Neuropsychology Review, 21(2), 102–118. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21369875
  • Murgatroyd, C., & Spengler, D. (2011). Epigenetics of early child development. Front Psychiatry, 2(16), 1–16. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21647402

Media

  • Sinauer Associates, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Stages of Neuronal Development. Available from https://www.bn8e.com/

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