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Chapter 4

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Western University
Psychology 1000
Tom Haffie

CHAPTER 4 STUDY QUESTIONS GENETICS, EVOLUTION, & HUMAN BEHAVIOR 1. Define the following terms/concepts: · Adaptation: allow organisms to meet recurring environmental challenges to their survival, thereby increasing their reproductive ability · Altruism: occurs when one individual helps another, but in so doing accrues some cost · Chromosomes: tightly coiled strands of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and protein that contain the genes · Concordance: the likelihood that two people share a particular characteristic · Evolution: a change over time in the frequency with which particular genes—and the characteristics they produce—occur within an interbreeding population · Genes: the biological units of heredity, located on the chromosomes · Genetic determinism: the view (sometimes erroneous) that genes have invariant and unavoidable effects; the idea that genes are destiny. · Natural Selection: the evolutionary process through which characteristics that increase the likelihood of survival are preserved in the gene pool and thereby become more common in a species over time · Reaction range: the genetically influenced upper and lower limits. Environmental effects will then determine where an organism falls within these genetically determined boundaries. 2. Explain the difference between dominant and recessive genes. - Dominant: a gene, which when present, will produce a particular characteristic - Recessive: a gene whose characteristic will be masked by a corresponding dominant gene; its characteristic will be expressed if the correspondent gene is also recessive 3. Differentiate between genotype and phenotype. - Genotype: the specific genetic makeup of an individual, which may or may not be expressed in the observable phenotype - Phenotype: the observable characteristics produced by one's genetic endowment 4. Explain the process of the following genetic engineering techniques: · DNA recombinant proceduAdvances in molecular biology enable scientists not only to map the human genome, but also to duplicate and modify the structures of genes themselves (Peacock, 2010). In recombinant DNA procedures, researchers use certain enzymes to cut the long threadlike molecules of genetic DNA into pieces, combine them with DNA from another organism, and insert them into a host organism, such as a bacterium. Inside the host, the new DNA combination continues to divide and produce many copies of itself. Scientists have used this procedure to produce human growth hormone, which is very difficult to obtain naturally in large enough quantities to use for therapeutic purposes. · Gene knockout technique: Molecular biologists have developed methods for inserting new genetic material into viruses that can infiltrate neurons and modify their genetic structure. These methods are now becoming part of the tool kit of physiological psychologists who wish to study genetic influences on behaviour. Recent gene-modification research by psychologists has focused on processes such as learning, memory, emotion, and motivation (Wahlsten, 1999). One procedure done with animals (typically, mice) is to alter a specific gene in a way that prevents it from carrying out its normal function. This alteration is called a gene knockout procedure because that particular function of the gene is eliminated. The effects on behaviour are then observed. For example, psychologists may insert genetic material that will prevent neurons from responding to a particular neurotransmitter and then measure whether the animal's ability to learn or remember is affected. This research can help psychologists determine the importance of particular transmitter substances in relation to the behaviours of interest 5. Differentiate between each of the following: · Embryo cloning · Reproductive cloning · Therapeutic cloning 6. Discuss some of the issues and ethical dilemmas that are associated with human cloning. 7. How are twin studies and adoption studies used to determine the genetic contribution of a trait or characteristic? What has research indicated about the genetic contribution of various personality traits? Twin studies are particularly informative for studying the role of genetic factors because they compare the degree of resemblance between two individuals who are genetically identical—monozygotic, or identical, twins— and two who are not—dizygotic, or fraternal, twins (Rowe, 1999). As noted briefly in the section ―Behaviour Genetics Techniques,‖ across many psychological characteristics monozygotic twins are more similar to each other than are dizygotic twins, suggesting a role for genetics. The issue, however, is complicated by the possibility that identical twins may also have more similar experiences than fraternal twins. Because identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins in appearance, size, and physical characteristics, others may treat them more similarly. 8. Discuss the nature/nurture controversy as it relates to intelligence. How is the concept of ―reaction range: important in this discussion? Let's
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