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Beyond Nature versus Nurture

The ‘nature versus nurture’ debate between scientists, philosophers and social scientists seems to have existed for almost as long as the disciplines themselves. In recent years, however, the growing field of epigenetics has re-written our scientific understanding of how changes in the expression of the DNA in our cells can determine how we develop and function.

Epigenetics has demonstrated how our genes respond dynamically to environmental factors such as nutrition, toxins and hormones to change the way our cells behave. Through epigenetics, we are gaining a clearer picture of how our social world gets under our skin to influence gene expression in ways that could have lasting affects for us and our descendants.

This public event will bring together social scientists and scientists to discuss how the nature versus nurture debate has been revolutionised and to debate the moral, ethical and social consequences of the growing understanding of how nurture affects nature. Our chair for the evening will be Professor Jane Elliot, Director of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute of Education. The Speakers are Professor George Davey Smith, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Bristol and Professor Nikolas Rose, Professor of Sociology and Head of Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King's College, London.

MP3 file, 1 hr 21 mins 25 secs, 32.61 MB