Nature and Nurture
in Human Behavior and Development:
A View of the Issues
Cynthia García Coll
Elaine L. Bearer
Brown University Richard M. Lerner
In June 2000, a breakthrough announcement was made about the completion of the mapping of the human genome (International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, 2001; Venter et al., 2001). Heralded as a major scientific accomplishment on its own, the implications of such knowledge for the creation of genetically based interventions for the amelioration and eradication of disease were immediately postulated.
Although it is quite possible that this scientific breakthrough can have a major influence on treatment of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other physical ailments that run in families, the effect of identifying particular genes or set of genes implicated in human behavior and development is less clear (Rutter, 2002). What does it mean to find a gene or set of genes that are associated with ADHD, schizophrenia, or autism? Does everybody who has that gene mani-