Genetic disposition

What is the role of genetics in our lives and what role should it play?

The genetic revolution has exploded in the last few years and mainstream media has been the major cause for the frenzy. The movie industry has made movies that give credit to genetic testing and modifications that have created super humans as well as freaks. So what role does it really play in our quality of life?

Are we destined to follow, genetically speaking, in the footsteps of our parents and grandparents? Does the fact that my mother was an artist, also make me an artist? Are my child’s artistic abilities due to Her genetics? Does the fact my daughter now works in medicine mean that the genetics of her great, great grandfather and great uncle carries over into her own DNA because they were both doctors?

When we gather all of our gene sequences, are we more alike, or more different than our forefathers. Do our genetic dispositions mutate over time? Was I born to be an artist? My mom was also a horse lover. Was I born to be a horsewoman. Why are sales my career? Can genetics tell us this too?

My own mother died of ovarian and breast cancer. I too had a scare with breast cancer several years ago. If I had listened to the medical community, even though I had been tested for the BRCA gene, I would have had a double mastectomy. However, I preferred to listen to my genetic disposition that says I do not have that particular gene and it has been 10 years later and I’ve never had another scare. So in this case, genetic testing saved my breasts when, in fact, I was being told to remove them.

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Truth is I am a very artistic person. I studied art in college and to this day, some 30 years later I still draw and paint for fun. Am I talented, some may think so, but I’m not nearly as talented as my mom used to be.

My dad was a scientist. He was a petroleum geologist. And my Great Grandfather was a doctor during the Great Depression. Is this where my dautghter gets her propensity for science? Additionally, my husband’s family were all ministers. Neither of my children have followed in those footsteps, but both are deeply “spiritual”. Does that yearning only come from God, or does it also have something to do with our genes?

As a girl, I rode horses my entire life until my second child was born. In the horse world, it is often said that people who love horseback riding have a defective gene. Is that true? Is the smell of horse, hay, and manure ingrained in my genome? If I had never met a horse in my life, would I even know how much I love them? Is there a gene that tells us if we are dog people or cat people? If there was, would it change how you felt about either?

I think the more personal question we all have to ask ourselves, in these days where our genetic makeup can claim to tell us who to love, and what wine to drink; would knowing our propensity to be a great athelete sidetrack us from becoming a concert celloist? Would knowing we were made to excel in basketball prevent us, instead, from picking up a musical instrument? How would knowing our genetic makeup affect the way we choose to live our lives? What portion of our environment molds and shapes our genetic makeup?

Do genetics have the right to tell us who we should love, and what wine we should drink?

There are so many possible combinations of our genetic code. It is why each of us is our own unique individual selves. It is what makes us who we are. It is my belief if we try to fit ourselves into a compound that make up the majority of our composite gene struccture, we could be missing out on the vision our spirit has for us. We might even miss out on our life’s mission, the reason we came to earth.

We all face challenges and battles in this life. No one gets a Get Out of Jail Free Card. It seems to be how we cope and deal with the deck we have been dealt that determines wheather we will succeed or fail. Certainly going against our own unique human nature would be a terrible thing, but trying to carve ourselves into some type of predisposed mold would be just as harmful.

Most parts of our DNA, science simply does not understand. If you are cornered into believing your DNA test can give you the secret to long life without the fear of dying from a dreaded disease, think again. We have only just begun to discover what lies insides our bodies, and what the DNA genome really means. There are dozens, if not thousands, of companies who will prey on our desire to want to know what makes us tick. Don’t be fooled by those wanting to exploit our curiosity with a way for their company to make money.

We don’t yet understand most of it. What we need is more studies and more science and more young people wanting to go into genetics and explore the building blocks of what make all of us unique and how we can use those tools to improve and yes, possibly, extend our lives here on earth.

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