Behavioral genetics uses twins and time to decipher the origins of addiction and learn who is most vulnerable
Why do some people get hooked on alcohol, tobacco or gambling, while others can sip, puff and bet—or not—with indifference? Lisa Legrand dissects this question and its now-familiar overtones of nature-vs.-nurture with new data that compare identical and fraternal twins as they grew from preadolescence to adulthood. Her article describes the behavioral and neurological signatures that may point to biochemical susceptibility and provide a way to distinguish those at greatest risk. These findings may also help to identify what kind of environment—including parenting strategies, peer interactions and neighborhood influences—can tip the scales toward or away from addiction.
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