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Genetics and professions

  1. Oct 5, 2012 #1
    Do our genes have memory?

    Say that my grandfather was in finance, and my father was in finance, and i too am in finance, and have a keen interest in it, will my child have an edge in the field of finance, over the competition because 3 generation of people went into the same field...and shared each others insights with the other?

    for instance the grandfather mentored the father, and the father mentored me and i mentor the son
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  3. Oct 5, 2012 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    I think if you can discover the physical traits that a financial person might have then you could say its inheritable.

    One example would be a pilot, who had a sharp mind, good goespatial perception and say 20/10 vision then his children that acquired the same or similar traits might persuaded to go into flying because they think and see like him and so decide that they were destined to be pilots too. So it would be a combination of nature and nurture.
  4. Oct 5, 2012 #3
    so in other words, genetics DO play a role in this scenario?
  5. Oct 5, 2012 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Only If you can identify the traits of a good financial person. Remember the financial person could simply has a string of good luck that makes him appear to be good to others so there wouldn't be any traits necessarily.

    There was an analogy about winning generals where someone wanted to know out how many would win five battles in a row and the answer was 4 to 5 out of 100. A mathematician listening says that statistically about right: 1 in 32 generals would win all five battles and hence 3 out of 100 so the heuristic result matched the probabilistic computation.
  6. Oct 6, 2012 #5
    The idea you are proposing is called Lamarckism after Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. It is discredited. Your genetic inheritance is decided at conception, and cannot be changed during your lifetime. Certain traits appropriate to a given profession may be heritable, and being brought up within a particular environment may affect your disposition towards a given profession. But the skills your father or your grandfather gained during their lifetime cannot be passed on genetically, only culturally.
  7. Oct 6, 2012 #6


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    This is not true, there is a neo-Lamarckian theory that epigenetic changes can be imprinted in the genes through experiences. Some genes do have memory. These changes relate mostly to biological-relevant mechanisms, such as experiencing a famine.

    I'm sure that choice of profession is mainly influenced by life experiences than (epi)genetic contributions.
  8. Oct 6, 2012 #7


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  9. Oct 6, 2012 #8


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    How is this different from the age old tradition of people following in their father's footsteps? In old times, professions carried down in families were so common that last names came from the trade they were in such as tailor, shoemaker, baker etc...
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
  10. Oct 6, 2012 #9


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    Yes if Dad and relations are most interested in, talk about, think about, the child hears about finance/music/engineering/ plus family can give you a start that maybe others wouldn't get, add that these professional interests do influence outlook, values, personality - then your are more likely to finish doing those things.

    There cannot be a gene for finance surely though there are certainly dynasties - for one thing what finance is has varied quite a lot. It used to be boring and solid, then it became glamorous, now everyone wishes it was boring. :biggrin:
  11. Oct 7, 2012 #10


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    Given the complex and transferable skills required for finance (which is a changing field) it is very unlikely that genetics has any effect. Even if it did I would guess it insignificant compared to the upbringing that each generation would receive.
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