The genome explains what makes us unique. There are roughly 30,000 genes that encode humans, and these encode our biological make up. Genes interact with the environment to make us who we are.
A new understanding of how genes work describes that learning is dictated by genes turning on and off. These genes are expressed and modified by experience to encode various proteins that make up the cells in our bodies.
Hox genes, like all genes, are switched on and off in different parts of the body at different times. In this way, genes can have subtly different effect, depending on where and how they're switched on. In this process, or the switches are known as promoters, and can have profound effects on the length of animal necks and body sizes. Think of this: promoter sequences of the hox gene determines the difference between the neck size of a giraffe and a frog.
Experiences effect our genes switching on and off, and our genes are designed to take cues from everything that happens to us. For example, if a child is not exposed to a lot of spoken language during the critical learning period, he or she will always struggle with speech. Thus, it can be concluded that the genes for language exist, but the experience of spoken word activates those genes.
Experiences effect our genes switching on and off, and our genes are designed to take cues from everything that happens to us. For example, monkeys are afraid of snakes, but not flowers. They develop this fear from watching other monkeys run away from snakes, but it is difficult to teach a monkey to be afraid of flowers. Thus, monkeys don't inherit a fear of snakes, but have a predisposition to learn the fear of snakes.
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