As we all know, the inherited genes from our parents influence everything from height, eyes colour, hair colour and other physical characteristics, to intelligence, behavioural patterns and personality traits. Who are we today was shaped by our genetic background as well as environmental influences. Most of the researchers agreed that a complex interaction of both nature and nurture is involved in child development (Levitt, 2013). The complex interaction of both nature and nurture does not just occur at a particular moment or periods of time, it is a persistent and lifelong process (Cherry, 2020). Therefore, it is important for parents, caregivers, and even educators to understand the science behind our children’s genetics in order to nurture them to their full potential, healthiest and happiest selves.
The genes that a person has inherited are referred as a genotype; a phenotype is referred as how the genes are actually expressed, for instances, physical traits like height and eyes colour, as well as non-physical traits like personality traits, extroversion (Ludlow & Gutierrez, 2014). There are two types of interactions that determined how a gene is expressed, which are Genetic Interaction and Gene-Environment Interaction.
Genetic Interaction is referred to as a phenomenon of two or more genes affecting the expression of each other in various ways in the development of a single character of an organism (Shinde, 2015). In other words, genes can sometimes contain conflicting information, and in most cases, one gene will win the battle for dominance (Cherry, 2020). The eye colour is one of the examples of dominant-recessive genes pattern. If one parent inherits a dominant brown eye gene while the other parent inherits a recessive blue eye gene, the dominant gene will win out and the child will have brown eyes (Cherry, 2020).
Gene-Environment Interaction is referred to as the environment that a child is exposed to, even in uterus will have an impact on how the genes are expressed. For example, height is a good example of how genetic traits are influenced by environmental factors. When a genetic code of the child indicate height, if the child has poor nutrition or chronic illness it might affect him in growing tall (Jelenkovic, 2016). Genetic code might go off course sometimes. The genetic abnormalities occur when the zygote have an uneven number of chromosomes. For example, the number of chromosomes might divide unevenly and caused the organism to have more or less than the normal 23 chromosomes, when the sperm and the ovum is combined.
Evidently, genetic influences have a huge impact on child development. Nevertheless, genes are not the determinant of a child’s future, parenting, education, culture as well as social relationships also play an important role.