PerspectiveGenetics

Using nature to understand nurture

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Science  26 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6374, pp. 386-387
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar6429

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Summary

Children resemble their parents in health, wealth, and well-being. Is parent-child similarity in traits and behaviors due to nature (the genes that children inherit from their parents) or nurture (the environment that parents provide for their children)? Answering this enduring question can directly inform our efforts to reduce social inequality and disease burden. On page 424 of this issue, Kong et al. (1) use genetic data from trios of parents and offspring to address this question in an intriguing way. By measuring parents' and children's genes, they provide evidence that inherited family environments influence children's educational success, a phenomenon termed genetic nurture.

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