Human Diversity

The Power of Genetics Once More Proven in Major Study

Commentary by Dr. Duke —  A new, extensive study of adopted children in Sweden shows that adopted children who have biological parents who abused drugs are twice as likely to abuse drugs as adopted children whose biological parents had no drug problems. Once more the power of genetics is proven even in areas of social behavior. Just a few decades ago most people believed that such behavior was completely the effect of environment alone. For instance many studies have shown that Scottish people and Amerindians have much greater tendency toward alcoholism than say Italians or Frenchmen, no matter where they may live. Genetics is real, ethnic variations are real, and understanding differences helps deal with and lesson societal problems rather than pretending the differences don’t Exist –DD

(CBS News) – Adopted children are twice as likely to use drugs if their biological parents used them, according a study of more than 18,000 adopted children in Sweden.

But don’t discount a child’s environment in the nature vs. nurture debate just yet: The same study showed that adopted children who lived with families with problems, such as divorce, death or criminal activity, also had a high risk of drug abuse.

“For an adoptee, having a biological parent with drug abuse who did not raise you doubles your risk for drug abuse,” said first author Dr. Kenneth Kendler, director of the VCU Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, said in the press release. “But we also found an important role for environmental factors.”

The study was conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden, who looked at 18,115 children born and adopted in Sweden between 1950 and 1993, as well as over 78,000 biological family members and over 51,000 adoptive family members.

Read More