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Research using twins provides opportunities to estimate the degree to which genetic and environmental influences contribute to individual differences in behavior, including psychopathology. Twin research on psychological characteristics falls within the field known as behavioral genetics, but twin research has also informed our understanding of the genetic contribution to other human attributes, such as body mass and medical disease. The use of genetically informative groups to investigate the importance of nature (genes) versus nurture (environment) in forming human traits has been credited to Francis Galton (1822–1911). Galton came from a distinguished lineage of intelligentsia, including half-cousin Charles Darwin (1809–1882), whose scientific literary work On the Origins of Species (1859) inspired Galton’s own book, Hereditary Genius (1869), which formalized his argument that nature was more substantial ...

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