by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted August 27, 2007 in DNA in General, Genetic Engineering
Having trouble persuading your child to eat broccoli or spinach? You may have only yourself to blame.
According to a study published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, neophobia – or the fear of new foods – is mostly in the genes.
“Children could actually blame their mothers for this,” said Dr. Jane Wardle, director of the Health Behavior Unit at University College London, one of the study’s authors.
“Parents should not feel like they’re doing something wrong if they keep trying but their child is not overjoyed to be eating Brussels sprouts,” said Marlene Schwartz, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.
@#! So are parents supposed to feel guilty for passing on “faulty” genes or give in and blame their genes instead, absolving our conscious selves of all guilt? We need to get our heads clear on this concept because the more we learn about our genetic make-up, the more worries we’ll have to face when it comes to the genes we’ve unintentionally doled out to our offspring. Some families are dealing with this dilemma already.
Last year, when the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) approved preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to screen embryos for BRCA1 and BRCA2, genes for breast and ovarian cancers, Karin Cohn and her family were featured. Karin carries the BRCA1 gene and both her sister and mother have had breast cancer. Karin’s mother Pat Gilbor:
I feel guilty. Rationally I know I shouldn’t, but emotionally I do
Karin herself also worries about the potential of having given her daughter Sophie the BRCA1 gene and supports the use of PGD:
If I had had the option, I would have done it. And I would continue to do it until I got a clear embryo.
It would mean I wouldn’t have to worry about my child in the future.
In many ways, I think this is a reflection of current parenting culture. We are so keen to control every aspect of our children’s lives and give them every advantage we can that it naturally extends to their health.
Just think about it for a second. It makes no sense to blame ourselves for the genes we’ve given our children because we can’t and did not select the genes that were distributed to them when they were conceived (with the exception of a limited list of genes using PGD).
Parents become responsible for choosing, or failing to choose, the right traits for their children.
And yet, even if and when genetic engineering for “perfect” children becomes widely available, we’ll still be unable to control the way our children’s genes interact with the environment in which they grow up.
Being a good parent means knowing what’s important and what can be improved within reason. When it comes to genetic material, I accept that my child isn’t perfect. After all, I may be responsible for giving my son the genes of genius but there’s no guarantee he got just as good from his daddy’s side of the family!
NB: For the record, broccoli is my five-year-old’s favorite vegetable.
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): A Discussion...
Testing Children for Sporting Ability Genes...
Eye on DNA Headlines for 28 August 2007 and a Poll on DNA Storage...
Storing and Testing Children’s DNA...
Which came first? The genes or the divorce?...
Family History of Disease Scares Parents More Than Genetic Test Results...
American Journal of Medical Genetics Special Issue on Children and Genetics...
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.
Search Eye on DNA
- Genetic Genealogy on Faces of America
- DNA Network Tweet Cloud
- Genetics = Real Science
- Larry David’s DNA Test
- Lopez Tonight First Late-Night Show to Offer DNA Testing
- American Genes Don’t Exist
- Knowledge about Genetic Risk is Power or is it Fear?
- Murderer Gets Reduced Sentence Because His Genes Made Him Do It
- Video: Knome’s Ari Kiirikki Speaks with Medgadget
- DNA Toys: Ben 10 and Digimon Digivice
- 100 Facts About DNA
- Salaries for Jobs in Genetics
- Fetal Gender DNA Tests Answer Common Pregnancy Question...Or Not
- How To Determine Paternity Without A DNA Test
- What does DNA mean to you?
- Eye on DNA Interview: Dr. Tzung-Fu Hsieh of RedTracer DNA Test for the Red Hair Gene, MC1R
- Books About DNA: The Crime of Reason by Robert B. Laughlin
- Genetically Modified Organisms Bring in the Cash
- Navigenics Introduces Physician Portal and Annual Insight Service
- People Who’ve Had Their Genomes Sequenced
09/29/2009 07:03 am
- Larry David’s DNA Test
11/17/2009 02:52 am
- 23andMe DNA Tests for $399, Down From $999
09/10/2008 04:33 am
- Crazy Genetic Marketing Ideas
07/05/2008 09:14 pm
- Parenting Children Using Genetic Tests
05/18/2009 02:09 am
- Business of DNA
- DNA @ Google Answers
- DNA and Disease
- DNA and Genealogy
- DNA and the Law
- DNA Around the World
- DNA Fun
- DNA in General
- DNA Inventions and Gadgets
- DNA Lab Talk
- DNA Podcasts and Videos
- DNA Quotes and Excerpts
- DNA Testing
- Gene Therapy
- Genetic Engineering
- Genetically Modified Foods and Organisms
- Jobs Involving DNA
- Personalities with DNA
- Polls About DNA
- January 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- The Biotech Weblog
- The Seven Stones
- Biopolitical Times
- Herpes Blog
- Adventures in Ethics and Science
- Women in Science
- Dr. Deborah Serani
- Free Association