Are you neat and tidy but your sister is messy and disorganized? Have you ever wondered why? The differences in your genetic make-up may be responsible! In a groundbreaking study, Dr. Hopi E. Hoestra, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard University and evolutionary geneticist, examined casts of deer mouse burrows to determine the effects of genes on behavior – in this case, how genes affect the specific characteristics of burrows. They discovered that characteristics of the burrows such as length, volume, and shape vary with different species of the deer mouse. She and her colleagues also pinpointed the four areas of DNA that help determine burrow design. Three of those areas affect the length and one plays a role in whether or not there is an escape tunnel. This significant discovery paves the way for scientists to discover the genetic pathways that determine specific behavior and may have important implications for why we behave the way we do.
Gorman, James. “Digging Deep in the DNA.” New York Times. N.p., 28 Jan. 2013. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.