The Unknown Circles of Life

As I was passing the soccer fields by Deanna Rose, my mom and I saw each field with a different age group. The one closet to the left was of young children, then elementary/middle schoolers, and finally a recreational high school team. To me, the idea of growth and development has always been one of deep interest to me. It is just amazing how we all grow from a tiny zygote, to an embryo, to toddlers, etc. How we evolve over time is a fascinating process of life. It is something that can’t be changed and is an ongoing process (of course exceptions like Benjamin Button, although there are people with this disease). All of our traits, characteristics, physical makeup, and emotional make up is coded for in our genetic makeup. However, processes beyond the scientific realm can also affect our behaviors, hence the heavy debate about nature vs nurture. As we have learned in our most recent unit of study, mitosis and meiosis are essential components in the development of our body cells and how our body adapts to damage or wearing out. Based off all of this, and my awkward (non-pedophilic) fascination with the variously aged kids on the field, I thought it would be interesting to write a blog about the nature vs nurture debate with the information about genetics from class as well as other things learned in other classes.

Before I begin, it may be important to keep in mind how meiosis and mitosis works; that way, it can be understood more clearly why there is such heavy debate in the nature vs nurture debate. As learned in chapters 12 and 13, the mitotic phase of the cell cycle is an asexual reproduction process in which the offspring is 100% identical to its parent cell. After replicating its DNA during the S phase, the cell is ready to duplicate. Gamete cells, on the other hand, go through a process of meiosis, broken into parts. Meiosis I is similar to mitosis, however in meiosis II, the diploid cells then break into 4 random and unique haploid cells (composed of mom and dad’s genetic makeup). This randomness of cell DNA makeup results in the differed personality traits or physical behaviors of children, inherited from parents. Thus, the debate begins.

In Psychology, Mr. Dewey recently covered a topic about this psychological and scientific debate. We learned that both sides of the argument have significant points of evidence that could tip the balance either way. The genetic code, made from cell division and DNA replication etc, can affect the way you behave as well. Physically, the human genome can identify your physical characteristics as well, which explains why you may have your mom’s eyes or dad’s nose. The genetic variation that arises from meiosis will cause these changes in a person (as described earlier). In the nature aspect, there are multiple correlative studies that indicate that the environment a child grows up in will affect the personality and attitudes of individuals. It could even affect a child’s physical characteristics, although these theories aren’t as heavily credible or supported. The method of nurturing a baby or child could also help psychologists predict the personality of a child in the future.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Both sides of the argument are very interesting and have sufficient evidence to support them. Maybe both aspects of the debate are prevalent. Overall, I do not side with one side more than another. To me, the scientific aspect coincides well with rational thinking. After a deeper look into the mitotic and meiosis processes in the body, my views on this debate have been strengthened to the nature aspect of the debate. However, after learning about the nurture aspects in psychology, around the same time we learned about mitosis and meiosis, I am again conflicted. In the end, both are interesting areas of debate and both ideas may be supported; but for now, at least at this time in my life, I think I’ll stay clear of the persistent debaters and continue to be fascinated by the various stages of life that seems to never end – after all, it’s all just the circle of life, whether you grow up to be like the two “Not-so-clever” animals that raise you, or become the mighty king that was set in your blood from the start.

About Mr. Mohn

Biology Teacher

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