How Culture and…

How Culture and Society Affects Our Understanding of Genetics


Genetics – this is the word that we use to sum up all the things that pertain to our genes. It is the study of heredity and how qualities and characteristics are passed on from one generation to another by means of genes. People normally have different notions of what it is all about. Cultural diversity is one of the reasons why each of us has our own views and opinions on certain topics or issues that we encounter.

Let’s take the Filipinos as a subject to further recognize how culture and society affects our understanding of genetics.

We are already in the 21st century and many of us, if not all, still believe in the existence of mythical creatures and traditional do’s and don’ts we termed as “pamahiin”. These beliefs were in the system of the Filipinos since then which is the reason why we do not accept things in the scientific world as true easily. We have imprinted in our minds things that we consider true and valid because our elders say so and disregard new profound things that lie in front of our tables.

This is proved to be true by the issue on the RH bill which has been a hot debate topic for years. The Philippines was divided into two. One group goes hand in hand to support it while another does everything possible to stop it. This is how it goes with genetics. I suppose all societies have this kind of division and that only about one or two would have a general stand. But this is sometimes not even imaginable.

We cannot really say which culture affects our understanding of genetics. Is it the old culture or the new? Some of us still live in the old one. They are the people who cannot accept new things and stick with what they initially know. The new one that I’m pertaining is the current culture that we have. We are the generation who lives in a culture that clamors for more knowledge. We are drowning in information yet still starved for knowledge. We want knowledge to overflow.

The Philippines itself is culturally diverse. The country is made up of islands making us, its citizens, have different kinds of customs and traditions. Say for example in the Luzon island, we have a lot of provinces subdivided into towns or cities and thenbarangays and villages. In every town or barangay, for instance, our elders were brought up with ideals that were handed to their parents by their grandparents and great grandparents. These ideals affect our views of things just like genetics. What I’m pointing out here is that our families are primary reasons why we are who we are now. Our families influence the way we think and perceive things. But one family differs from another. A family in the Ilocos region might think that genetics could increase the yield of their tobacco crops while another from Sulu may think it is just a waste of time.

Within the society is the Church. This has greatly influenced the practices and beliefs of societies. I believe this is essential to point out in this paper. When “Dolly the sheep” came out, religions and Churches urged their faithful followers to go against cloning, genetic engineering and anything that alters the natural way of life. Many were made to believe with what the Church said on the issue. This increased the number of those who do not want anything that relates to genetics.

On the other hand, we have other people within the society who are in favor and in support of such things like genetics. Some of our politicians and some private organizations advocate the proliferation of genetics as a possible solution to social and health problems. With their ‘sales talk’, many are called to believe what genetics is in another view.

To sum it all up, when we break down our society we will see different groups that influence our understanding of genetics. Culture also plays a role. What we have in mind since we were born may dictate how we perceive genetics. But, it is all up to us whether we let our society and cultures affect our understanding of genetics or not.


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