In search of the mommy gene: Truth and consequences in behavioral genetics
Behavioral genetics has as its goal the discovery of genes that play a significant causal role in complex phenotypes that are socially relevant such a parenting, aggression, psychiatric disorders, intelligence, and even race. In this article, I present the stories of the discoveries of three such important phenotypes: maternal nurturing behavior and the c-fosB gene; intelligence and phenylketonuria (PKU); and pair-bonding and monogamy (vasopressin and oxytocin) and show that the reality is considerably more complex than often portrayed. These accounts also lay bare some fundamental misconceptions of this field in which genes hold a privileged place and inherently subjective phenomena are mistakenly objectified. © The Author(s) 2010.
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