Medicine And Books

DNA and Destiny: Nature and Nurture in Human Behavior

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7087.1137 (Published 12 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1137
  1. Stuart W G Derbyshire, research fellow
  1. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, USA

    R Grant Steen /Plenum Press, £21, pp 295 / ISBN 0 306 45260 X

    My outspoken opinion that there is nothing within human biology that can predict behaviour resulted last year in a request for a book chapter. Having now looked at the issue in detail, I face an irritating fact: the data will not square with my opinion. DNA and Destiny adds insult to injury. The book is a wonderful exposition of the most recent and compelling evidence that genetic inheritance can predict future disease and future behaviour.

    Steen makes excellent use of adoption data to make his points. For example, adopted children whose biological parents have a high IQ will average 16 IQ points more than their adoptive siblings born of a low …

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