A meta-analysis of data going back 50 years found that 49% of the variation for human traits and diseases could be blamed on genetics, while 51% were due to environmental factors.
University of Queensland research fellow Dr Beben Benyamin and a team from the VU University of Amsterdam analysed studies of more than 14.5 million twin pairs across 17,804 traits from 2,748 publications.
Benyamin said he was surprised by how similar an influence each aspect had.
“Most of the reviews have been for specific traits, like people are interested in studying one particular disease and review all the twin studies for one disease,” he told the media. “But this is I think is the first one to review everything about all disease and all twin studies that are available at the moment.”
He said the study showed that the influence of nature and nurture should be understood as a complex interplay rather than a simple either/or.
“The findings show that we need to look at ourselves outside of a view of nature versus nurture, and instead look at it as nature and nurture,” he said.
His research was published in Nature.
Originally published by Cosmos as The nature vs nurture debate put to rest?
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.