Living With Our Genes by Dean Hamer
The nature-nurture controversy is always hotly debated. Scientists send shock waves through society whenever their new theories of what is biologically inherited - as opposed to socially learned - confront our old ideas about the self. Dean Hamer, a molecular geneticist whose discoveries of specific genes linked to behavioural traits appear to prove that we are in large part hardwired to behave as we do. Hamer is one of a small group of researchers mapping the human personality, his findings help to explain why one brother becomes a Wall Street Trader while his sibling remains content as a librarian; why some people like to bungee jump while others play Scrabble; why some are born Don Juans and others wallflowers; and why some people have a cloud hanging over their head while others see a silver lining. The emerging science of molecular biology shows that genes are the single most important factor in distinguishing one person from another. We come in large part ready-made from the factory yet genes are not fixed instructions. Indeed, as the authors are quick to point out, it is our very nature to respond to nurture. A user's manual for understanding why we do the things we do, "Living With Our Genes" is a comprehensive investigation of the crucial link between our DNA and behaviour.