Family Influences on Children’s Well-Being: Potential Roles of Molecular Genetics and Epigenetics
We address a number of questions related to the potential roles of molecular genetics and epigenetics in estimating family effects on children’s well-being. What is the nature of family effects? Where do we need genetics? What is our best evidence? What could we do at the moment and in the next 10 years? We review relevant advances in molecular genetics over the past few decades and discuss what these advances may contribute to social sciences. We focus on gene–environment interactions for delinquency. We define the concept and describe an empirical study. We also review an earlier animal gene–environment/experience study to understand the prospects of human gene–environment studies. Very soon, we may create a gigantic amount of genetic and epigenetic data, but appropriate ways of analyzing these data and proper interpretations of the findings remain enormously challenging.
KeywordsEnvironment Interaction Binge Drinking Genetic Influence Variable Number Tandem Repeat Regular Meal
This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by a grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies (www.cpc.unc.edu/addhealth/contract.html). Special acknowledgment is due to Andrew Smolen and John K. Hewitt of the Institute for Behavior Genetics, University of Colorado, for DNA isolation and genotyping. We gratefully acknowledge support from NIH P01-HD31921 to Add Health; R03 HD042490-02 to G.G.; R03 HD053385-01 to G.G.; and support from NSF, SES-0210389 to G.G.
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