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Cassandra White, a senior majoring in biology and public health, is researching what kind of impact genetic and environmental factors have on primates’ personality—a key question in the debate on how behavior is influenced by nature and nurture.
Ms. White is looking at the DNA of chimpanzees and comparing that with validated personality data available to the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology. In her preliminary work, she honed in on the DRD2 gene, the methylation of which was found to be associated with the personality dimensions of openness and extraversion.
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