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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Chapter in the Nature/Nurture debate.
What makes us who we are? Is everything predetermined by our genes or does upbringing and environment have the major role?

In recent years the pedulum has swung from belief that upbringing had most impact on personality to genetics. Reading the popular press you could be forgiven for thinking that there is a gene for everything from eye colour to athletic...
Published on 15 July 2012 by Rose

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of twins
Tim Spector knows a lot about twins, and uses various twin stories to show how people with identical genes can turn out differently. We don't ever really get to be told why this is (the 'methylation of the gene' and 'epigenetic change' is used to explain virtually every phenomenon described!).

Still the twin stories are fascinating and I think he does...
Published 18 months ago by M. D. Holley


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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting study of factors influencing our lives other than our genes - but did not enlighten me about twins as I'd hoped, 1 July 2012
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This review is from: Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes (Hardcover)
As a father of twins - very different people but in fact I eventually learned, identical - I had hoped to learn from this book something about 'how come?' In this I was somewhat disappointed. I learned mostly that 'it happens', that we all want to individuate ourselves, that genes aren't king (there's also epigenetics to take account of), and there are some interesting anecdotes about twins, of course.

Looking at the book in its own terms, it's actually rather strong. It comprises a series of chapters asking in each case what impact genes and what impact other factors have on a very wide range of themes in human life, ranging from belief in god, through criminality, fatness, gayness and fidelity. There's a lot of learning here, very accessibly summarised, about a very wide range of science. And it's clear a lot of things can influence our lives - starting with the diet of our ancestors (Dutch famine in 1945 still working its way through the population) and moving onto really unexpected things like the bacteria in our guts - in a chapter about the wider gene landscape that I found the most fascinating in the book. In passing, Spector suggests that some of the theories of scientists or theorists other than Darwin - Lamarck, and even Lysenko - may have understood something about the world after all. Sometimes I did read things that surprised me though - for example on page 70 that it was not until Mozart was aged 21 that he 'produced his finest work - his violin concerto No. 9'!

However, all in all, then, an interesting read - just not the book I was looking for. I hope Spector will one day write a book about twin studies!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 11 April 2013
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This review is from: Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes (Hardcover)
It takes an outstanding scientist and an amazing writer to be able to turn such a complex subject as epigenetics into stories that touch us.
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Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes
Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes by Tim Spector (Hardcover - 21 Jun 2012)
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