Why am I?: The science of us: episode 3: When genes mix with the wrong environment

14 Jun 2016

Why Am I?: The Science of Us (also known as Predict My Future: The Science of Us) is a 2016 New Zealand documentary series about the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a long-runningcohort study following 1037 people born in Dunedin, New Zealand during 1972–73. The study revealed the result of the combined effects of hereditary (genes) and environment (upbringing) on how people turn out. This series follows the fascinating study and information it has provided in almost every field of medical and social development including respiratory and cardiovascular health, addictions, obesity, sexual health, cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry, genetics and criminology and most interestingly the effects of nature and nurture on health and behaviour. The series of four sixty minute episodes was made by Razor Films of Auckland, New Zealand, and screened on TV One from 31 May to 21 June 2016, with all four episodes available online on TVNZ On Demand.

Episode 3 looks at what happens when nature clashes with nurture, The Dunedin Study has identified a fundamental developmental mechanism that completely rewrites the nature versus nurture argument. It is a genetic switch which is thrown by life events – nature loads the gun but nurture pulls the trigger. This episode tracks the hunt for the mechanism using three specific examples - violence in men, depression, and cannabis induced schizophrenia.

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