In his 2016 book The Gene: An Intimate History, cancer physician and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee chronicled the initial idea of the gene, taking readers through the history of genetics up to the current “post-genome” period by interweaving science, social history, and his own personal narrative. In the process he documented some of the crimes of the eugenics movement and the monstrous atrocities committed by German National Socialism in the name of eugenics and biology, while noting the Nazi’s promotion of twin research. He also criticized aspects of intelligence testing and genetic theories of racial inferiority based on IQ tests. At the same time, Mukherjee supported and promoted many contemporary behavioral genetics positions.
The wealthy, and the institutions they finance and promote, look favorably upon research whose authors claim that economic disparities are rooted in biology, and are not harmful to humanity as a whole. But there are countless obvious real-world examples showing that political policies, social struggles, and public health programs, including those involving the adjustment of income differences, lead to improved health and well-being.
The long-running debate on the validity of twin research recently resurfaced in American criminology, and has major implications for behavioral and medical twin research. Most twin researchers and their critics agree that reared-together monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs experience more similar environments than experienced by same-sex dizygotic (DZ) pairs, and we argue that the twin method is therefore unable to disentangle the potential influences of genes and environment on human behavioral differences, a conclusion supported by the failures of molecular genetic research.