Last Monday, Nicholas Hughes, son of poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, killed himself. His mother was one of the world’s most famous suicides, and news stories have mentioned the tendency of suicide and depression to run in families. But this tragic inheritance is just part of a more complex story in which our lives are shaped by genes, environment — and unexpected connections between the two.
Much more than depression is partly inherited. Here’s a weirder fact: the genes you get from your parents partly determine your risk of being mugged. So do genes dictate our fate? Of course not — but they do have a say in who we become.
--Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang, "Mugged By Our Genes?"