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Who we become depends on where we grew up geographically, says study


A new study has shown that in the nature vs. nurture argument, it depends on where exactly we grew up.


Danny Martindale

The impact of nurture or nature depends heavily upon where one grew up, says a new study.

Researchers at King's College in London found that one's genetic make-up makes a bigger or smaller difference in the development of the personality depending on the geographical location where one was raised.

According to the Telegraph, the scientists looked at 45 childhood traits in nearly 7000 pairs of identical twins born between 1994 and 1996.

The study looked at characteristics from IQ and hyperactivity to height and weight.

They found that in some areas in the UK like London, environment was key in creating certain traits, whereas elsewhere, genetics played a greater role in shaping that trait.

"These days we're used to the idea that it's not a question of nature or nurture; everything, including our behaviour, is a little of both," said Oliver Davis, a Postdoctoral Fellow at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, according to Science Daily.

"But when we saw the maps, the first thing that struck us was how much the balance of genes and environments can vary from region to region."

The researchers used what they termed "nature-nurture" maps to track the influence of both, while considering the geographical location of the child.

"Take a trait like classroom behaviour problems. From our maps we can tell that in most of the UK around 60% of the difference between people is explained by genes," said Davis, reported Medical Daily.

"However, in the South East genes aren't as important: they explain less than half of the variation. For classroom behaviour, London is an 'environmental hotspot'."

The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.