Work stress, job satisfaction and health problems due to high stress have more to do with genetics than previously recognized, according to a study published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
The emerging field of epigenetics has added a new dimension to the “nature versus nurture” debate, by which researchers have historically attempted to determine whether a characteristic was influenced by genes or environment. Increasingly, it appears that environmental influences can affect gene expression, meaning that “nature” and “nurture” are inextricable from one another to an even greater extent than previously understood.
So-called “Frankenfood” — genetically-modified organisms meant for human consumption or use as animal feed — has been making headlines again. This time, the buzz is over the FDA’s recent completion of their evaluation of the first genetically-engineered (GE) salmon meant for human consumption, the AquAdvantage salmon. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget is now reviewing the evaluation, which puts the AquAdvantage salmon one critical step closer to finding its way into farms and onto plates. While the GE salmon would be the first genetically-modified animal approved for human consumption, it’s not the first genetically-modified organism (GMO) used for food; data from 2009 indicate that 93% of soy and cotton, and 86% of corn grown in the U.S. are GMO . There are a number of other common GMO crops, and GMO rice will likely become available soon.
A recent study published in the journal Epilepsia indicates that there is a bidirectional relationship between schizophrenia and epilepsy . This means that people with schizophrenia are at a higher risk of developing epilepsy, and those with epilepsy face a higher risk of developing schizophrenia. The fact that each disorder acts as a risk factor for the other indicates that the two may share some underlying causative factors, be they genetic, environmental, or neurological in origin.
The largest and most rigorous twin study of its kind to date has found that shared environment influences susceptibility to autism more than previously thought.
The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, found that shared environmental factors — experiences and exposures common to both twin individuals — accounted for 55% of strict autism and 58% of more broadly defined autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Genetic heritability accounted for 37% of autism and 38% of ASD. Random environmental factors not shared among twins play a much smaller role.