The Biological Domain

The past as well as the future is written in the genetic blueprint for life.

he Jim twins are identical twins separated at birth and raised in dif fer-ent adoptive families. They met for the first time when they were 39 years old having been apart for their entire lives. One of the twins, Jim Springer , made the first phone call on February 9, 1979, after learning that he had a twin brothe , Jim Lewis, who was living in the Midwest. They had an instant connection; three weeks after the phone call, Jim became the best man at his brother' s wedding.

When they first met, the Jim twins displayed an astonishing set of similarities Both weighed 180 pounds. Both were 6 feet tall. They had each been married twice, and, in each case, their first wives were named Linda and their second wives name Betty. Each had a son named James. Their jobs were also similar—each worked parttime as a sherif f. Both smoked Salem cigarettes and drank Miller Lite beer . Both suffered from the same kind of headache syndrome, and both had a habit of biting their fingernails. Both left love notes for their wives scattered around the house. And both had remarkably similar personality scores on standardized tests (Segal, 1999).

The Jim twins were not identical in all ways, of course. One was a better writer, the other a better speaker . They wore their hair dif ferently; one combed his hair down over his forehead, and the other combed his hair back. But, overall, the similarities were striking, especially since they had grown up from infancy in entirely different families. This is a single twin pair, and, of course, no conclusions can be drawn from one case. But the case of the Jim twins raises the intriguing question, "What is the role of genetics in influencing personality?

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