Good eggs. Genetics and Environment

Good Eggs

Eggs are what they are: Genetic repositories for half the DNA code. The other half of the binary code comes from a sperm; the combination of which results in a seed or an embryo. Then there is the third component, environment, all of which has contributed to the long, lingering scientific debate about the influence of environment versus genetics on the development of any living creature. Because genetics comprises two thirds of the issue, I often lean in favor of that factor playing the principle role.

Also because I worked in an egg barn and saw my fair share of them, I can also say with a fair degree of certainty that although in the minority there really is such a thing as a bad egg.

By counterintuitive reasoning there should be little debate as to the existence of the occasionally random bad seed or bad sperm as well; or what happens to a flooded or an un-watered crop. Farmers know all about blighted seeds, floods and drought.

Layered on top of this is the fact that environment can certainly be a huge modifier in the process of growth and development of any organism after its birth, a factor accounting for why an impoverished or disadvantaged child can grow up to be a pillar of society, or why a child of privilege can grow up to be a serial killer.

After all plausible rationalizations and excuses are set aside however, the bottom line is that no matter how you slice it, dice it, dissect it, or even crack it, some folks turn out to be really good eggs while others are just plain rotten ones.

At least when one is candling chicken eggs, the bad ones can be identified and trashed before they get to the commercial public market or made inert by being baked into a pie. For human beings the issue is not that simple because reproductive biology is based on completely random events, resulting in the four possible combinations of good or bad eggs combining with good or bad sperm.

Once again in this scenario, for the most part the fortunate preeminent combination would be: Good egg + good sperm = highly favorable chance for having a good kid. This can occur paradoxically, even if both parents happen to be bad.

Unfortunately any other combination, including the worst possible combination of all: Bad egg + bad sperm will never be favorably modified by having a good mother and a good father; or the good fortune of being raised in a favorable environment.

This combination results in a bad kid, and as portrayed in the macabre William March story, “The Bad Seed,” in which two good, kind and loving parents who had a bad kid; a bad kid can be simply no more than that: Just a bad kid.



(Grades: AA, A, and B)

I am the egg-man. I am the egg-man. I am the Walrus. Coo-coo-ca- choo

(The Beatles)

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