The January edition of National Geographic features a fascinating article on twins.
The heart of the articles revolves around the old tension between nature and nurture. Identical twins come from the same single fertilized egg that spits in two and share the same genetic code. Fraternal twins, like my grandsons, Liam and Dylan grow from separate eggs and share about 50 % of their DNA. Scientists are mapping and measuring the role of the environment in both types of genes. For example if you have identical twins and one develops cancer and the other does not, the trigger is thought to be to the environment.
To define this trigger, science has come up with a whole new factor other than nature and nurture. It is called epigenetics Science is attempting to show how epigenetics is a path between the environment and our genes. Scientists refer to the genome as our hardware, what makes us what were are. But they believe through this new theory, the software guides that genome’s hardware is what we call an epigeoume/ PBS has a very viewer friendly segment of this idea.
The national geographic article uses an example of identical twins who both have autism. However, one does not speak and they other speaks like a professor. The difference may be the twins who does not speak and had a completely different environment after he was born with a serious surgery and high-powered drugs. Did his postnatal environment- software change his hardware? Check out the National Geo article.