In the past decades, the effects of parenting and the rearing environment have been seriously queried by behavioral genetic research. The current generation of genetic studies ascribes more influence to parenting, seeking to answer specific questions of shared and non-shared environment and directed at the interplay between nature and nurture (gene-environment interaction, GxE). We present results from our research on dopamine-related genes as an illustration of the difference between "genetic risk" and "differential susceptibility" as frameworks for the interpretation of GxE effects in both children and parents, and we argue that dopamine-related genes may play a part in explaining differential susceptibility to the rearing environment. The growing evidence for environmental impact on gene expression (i.e., epigenetic programming) underlines the significance of parenting. Implications for family science are discussed.
- Differential susceptibility
- GxE interaction