"But My Genes Made Me Do It!"

Published, NY Times: June 19, 2006

To the Editor:

Re ''That Wild Streak? Maybe It Runs in the Family'' (''The DNA Age'' series, front page, June 15):

It is always disheartening to me as a psychotherapist for almost three decades to read yet another ''pronouncement'' in the ''nature versus nurture'' debate.

My dismay is not because I take one side or the other, but because I, like anyone who has worked in depth with the mental and emotional lives of real people, realize that this dualistic point of view is inherently flawed.

We all have a variety of genes handed down to us that don't always ''activate.'' Circumstances, positive or negative, at various times in our lives have been shown through numerous studies to trigger the actions of otherwise dormant genes, be they for cancer or adventure.

What drives the behavior and tendencies of all human beings is nature and nurture.

Peter Loffredo
Brooklyn, June 15, 2006