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To what extent do you believe that sexual orientation is an influenceable choice over a genetic fact? 

Whichever area is addressed with behavioural genetics – we are finding at least moderate genetic effects. This suggests that it is highly likely that sexual attraction and orientation is influenced by many genes (DNA variants) of small effects, that interact with environments – to produce individual differences. There is an excellent summary of behavioural genetics findings in this paper.

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I’m curious to hear your take on the exposome. How do we best quantify it to measure it’s impact on the individual? Do we treat it like the weather, and address it in more of a public health arena, or should we keep it focused on individuals? Also, how do you see it fitting into the emerging field of precision medicine?

For those who don’t know this term, exposome refers to all of the environmental exposures that an individual encounters throughout life, complementing the genome – the entire DNA sequence of an individual. When genome meets exposome – transcriptome, epigenome, proteome, neurome and phenome (the collection of all your expressed traits/behaviours) of an individual are created. This is an extremely exciting time – our ability to anlayse huge datasets (big data), containing millions and billions data points – is developing at an astronomical pace. I have no doubts that big data analyses will lead to discoveries of new patterns in the exposome and genome and their interplay – and will lead to new discoveries. We will without a doubt know more about ourselves in the future. What will we do with this knowledge – remains a total mystery.

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Can ones intelligence be considered a genetically inherited trait or is ones intelligence the result of ones upbringing? If both statements are true, then which plays a bigger role?

Indeed, both statements are true. Intelligence, like most human traits, is a product of genetic and environmental influences. They interplay with each other, in most interesting ways. For example, it has been shown in several populations that heritability of intelligence increases with age. That is, individual differences in intelligence in children are largely explained by environmental differences, but as we grow older, genetic differences among us explain more and more differences in intelligence. It is not entirely clear why this is the case. One explanation is that, as we go through life, we make decisions that are partly driven by our genetic propensities. So, we choose environments that are suitable to our genetic propensities or react or respond to environments and events – in ways that reflect our genetic predispositions. This way genes influence intelligence more. I highly recommend this paper on genetic findings about intelligence.