Nature vs Nurture
The issues pitting nature against nurture are exceptionally significant for the gamut of discoveries that attribute an increasing proportion of traits and behaviours to one's genetic makeup. The resulting variety of physical shortcomings and limitations in each person has, for centuries, been countered by endeavours to improve or interfere where necessary, and every individual is consequently the product of a delicate middle path of balance between the two.
The importance of nurturing is nearly boundless, and there is no better evidence than the oft-cited case of identical twins who, despite identical nuclear genomes and mitochondrial DNA, will duly differ in physique and behaviour if raised (i.e., nurtured) in dissimilar environments. On the other hand, the role of nurturing in the development of abilities and aptitudes as basic as walking and reading is no less estimable.
Hence nature, as represented by the genome, "codes for potential", as concluded by the National Centre for Genome Resources (NCGR) in its on-line publication Genetic Odyssey. While the environment nurtures, and in doing so, determines the outcome of this potential, nature has nevertheless traditionally been responsible for providing a healthy basis from which nurturing may initiate further development. It follows that the quality - or lack thereof - of a person's genetic makeup may impose physical barriers and limitations on the upward mobility implicit in the concept of nurturing. Persons disadvantaged by the misfortune of hereditary conditions such as thalassemia, sickle cell anemia and phenylketonuria are testimonies to the importance of the genome, and it is for want of a certain quality of life, that intervention is necessary. Furthermore, as Theodore Friedmann writes in Gene Therapy, the fundamental cause of many diseases has been traced to genetic defects responsible for "setting up a condition of...