Home > Uncategorized > Is science in the genes?

Is science in the genes?

While reading some blogs about science to help me write my essay I came a very interesting post titled How to Become a Biologist. It is a man’s story through science and how he has tackled various challenges throughout his life, to get where he is today. It is quite lengthy, but full of humor and personality that makes the reader feel very connected to the writer. One part that made me really think was when the author discussed his family’s professions and how he relates to them. The author wrote the following:

“As long as I can remember I loved animals. I have no idea where that came from. My family mostly had to do with theater, art, language and literature. I think they thought I was going to become an actor. My grandfather was a famous architect and I certainly have talent – I can draw a floor-plan of an apartment or a building from memory. If I ever get filthy rich I will probably try to play a big role in the design of my house. My great-uncle is a chemical engineer. But none of them were particularly in love with nature or animals. None of them felt really comfortable out in the wild.”

I had never thought of the fact that professions could really passed down through generations. My dad majored in psychology but gave that up quickly and became a small business owner. Him and his partner are now successful wholesale food distributors (meaning they sell food and supplies to pizza shops in New England). My mom went to school to be a veterinary technician and worked at a local veterinary clinic for years until she became a mother and quit her job. Now my sister is in school to be a nurse, which is very much science based and in a way very similar to what my mom majored in, except for people not animals. And now here I am majoring in business, just like the path my dad chose to pursue. I had never made this connection before and maybe it is just coincidence, or maybe my sister and I each got certain genes from our parents that made us want similar jobs as them.

So here is my question to you: do you think that certain professions or areas of study can be passed down from generation to generation? I don’t know the answer and I didn’t do any research on it, but it certainly interesting to look at your family and compare them to what you want to major in. Not only does this bring up the idea of science being passed through genes but also the question of whether scientists can even tell if something like this could happen.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I definitely agree that certain professions and areas of study can be passed down through generations. I have seen it in my own family, and also have observed it in the businesses and families around me. For example, think of all the companies that are named after the family, such as “Johnson and Son”. Family businesses are common, so interest in similar areas of studies seems to fit as well. My personal example is that of my sister and brother, who are both majoring in Business, the same area that my father majored and works in. I have not followed the path of either of my parents, however my mother majored in Psychology and I have always been interested in that subject. While it is not necessarily true for everyone, I believe that interest and talent in certain subjects can be passed down through families.

  2. dj74
    September 23, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    I think the point you are bringing up/alluding to is borderline nature vs. nurture; in other words do we inherit certain likings to, or personalities from our parents, or are we simply interested in the particular path of our parents because we were raised watching them work and idolize them in the same fashion. I personally think it’s the later, because I know that when I was growing up I never quite understood what my mom’s profession was (she was a social worker) but my dad was a doctor, which is easier to understand for a child. Because of this, I think I lead more towards the field of medicine simply (not to mention the added help of “The Cosby Show” and the fact that most of my dad’s patients thought he was Bill Cosby).
    Even though some people decide not to follow in their parents’ footsteps, I don’t know this for a fact, but they tend to at least “test the waters” so to speak and see if they might actually develop a passion for one of the fields. Whether they like it or not ultimately depends on their own personalities but I do think our parents have a big influence on our professional decisions.

  3. September 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I agree that is more of a nature vs. nurture issue. I think it has a lot to do with growing up listening to your parents talk about their jobs. Every kid has a memory of their parent’s job, for example, Bring-Your-Kid-To-Work-Day. I want to be a scientist, and I think that my brother will eventually major in a science related field also because he has told me before that he wants to be like me. I think that the jobs we see our parents working at, or what our siblings and other family members do, play a role in helping us as individuals decide what to do, albeit a small one.

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