More Than Our Genes: The Interplay of Genetics and Personal Responsibility

Fifteen percent of Americans still smoke. Seventy percent of Americans are obese or overweight. Many Americans engage in risky health behaviors that negatively affect their overall wellness.

However, my grandparents were not among these. I can remember hiking in the woods with my grandfather and trying to keep up with him. I also remember a doctor’s office and how, for the first time, it was my grandfather who was the one falling behind. Among these memories are the last times I saw my grandparents, each in a hospital bed before they passed away. Despite their sharp contrast, these memories are not spaced years apart. They happened over a matter of months. As a child, I often struggled with the question of why my grandparents had to be taken away from me long before the ripeness of old age. Looking for ways to better understand what happened, I volunteered at the cancer research center where they had received their care. It was during my time there that I learned about the unlikely, often sinister, partnership between genes and behavior.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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