Genetics is the study of how traits are passed from parent to child. The information that children get from their parents is contained in chemical packets of information called genes. These genes make up larger units called chromosomes (KRO-mo-somz). Humans have 46 chromosomes; 23 come from the father, and the other 23 come from the mother. The human genome is the term for all the genetic information contained in humans.
Variations in human behavior are seen every day. Often people are kind and thoughtful. Sometimes people behave in ways that are considered antisocial * or hurtful to themselves. Behavioral genetics is a branch of science that tries to find out what role inherited factors play in how people act and what kinds of genes may lead to different patterns of behavior.
Environmental factors also can influence human behavior. Behavioral geneticists work to discover how much of people’s behavior is determined by the genetic information they inherited from their parents and how much is caused by their living conditions, learning choices, and other influences from the world around them.