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Brandon Woodstock

English 1320
Essay 1 assignment
In the essay, The Social Life of Genes, (Dobbs) one is led to understand that you are whom you
hang out with. When the scientists decided to mix the bees together socially it proved that although the bees
had more simple minds than humans, we do act a lot alike when it comes to social life in different
environments. For example, when he combined the European bees with the killer bees, the European,
although normally more peaceful bees, became more aggressive and violent and vice versa with the killer
bees. It also showed that bees and humans are actually more alike than originally thought. When it comes to
friendships in humans you can see if an old friend has changed depending on who they spend more time
with and the same goes for the bees. When it comes down to it, Robinson showed us that there is more to
genes that affect behavior and how they work than we originally believed. The arguments that are being
made in this essay suggest that some scientists say that genes stay constant all your life while others say
genes have a dimmer switch concept (Dobbs) and change depending on whom you are around. The
experiment described gave scientific evidence that the environment the bees were placed in had a profound
effect on how genes expressed themselves, and therefore their behavior. In conclusion, Robinson and his
team give plenty of examples and scenarios where bees, birds, monkeys, and humans social interaction
changes their genetics due to a process called gene expression. Although some would ask why we evolved
like this emotionally, others would say it brings new answers to the light when it comes to studying
In her article Mixed Up, Katherine Bagley explains that many hybrid animals that would not
normally exist if it werent for changes in their environment. These hybridizations can, however, pose
moral and emotional decisions for scientists. For example, when Rachel Vallender talks about the hybrid
between the grizzly bear and the polar bear, a product born from the rapidly changing Arctic climate. This
climate change is due to human induced global warming, which she equates to closer to a meteor strike
[for species] than to the gradual evolution of green plants (Bagley). She is torn between eliminating or
protecting the hybrid because in some cases the mixed breed could do well on its own, depending on its
environment and how it is raised, versus the possible consequences of being too different and not being
able to survive, leading to its eventual extinction. However, her feelings completely change when it comes
to the warblers. This is due to the fact that when it comes to the bird world, a good amount of birds come
from interbreeding. Additionally, she finds out that today more and more species such as owls and squirrels
are getting mixed up as well as the animals in the artic due to global warming and the animals moving into
preoccupied territory. The big ordeal about whether or not they decide to put these animals down or not
depends on if the original species will go extinct due to the fact that as long as these animals keep mix
breeding, it will make that species so different that we may never get the original back to populating, thus
losing it. Ultimately it wouldnt depend on the scientists but rather the people in charge of the animals
protection itself and comes down to whether we need these animals that are so different from what we are
used to in our ecological system.
The effect of the environment individuals are in spans beyond the animal world, however. The
Widening Gap between Military and Society (Ricks) sheds light on the amount of change that occurs for
military personnel even in just the small beginning steps of basic training versus civilian life. The author
goes into detail and describes how some marines, in this case, go back home after only eleven weeks into
what could have been four to eight years of service and are so changed by that small amount of time that
they feel their old friends arent worth spending time with anymore. It also goes to show that
communication between family members got more difficult as well. This idea could be seen when Thomas
Ricks shows that while the marine was in the process of becoming a more mature, disciplined gentleman,
his friends on the other hand were becoming losers (Ricks), by smoking weed, going to parties, and
ultimately only wanted to live for the moment. He considered the civilian world to be nasty and most of the
people to be lazy, greedy, and overall self-destructive (Ricks). Instead of trying to change back into what
they were, he realized they had no common ground anymore but he did not let it get to him (Ricks).
When he was in military training school or on base he felt like himself, in the instance of feeling like a
better part of the population than that of which they serve and protect. This left them with God complexes
and in his words left them with the weakness of not caring for the people they left behind when they joined
in the first place. His changes in environment induced these profound changes in behavior.

Brandon Woodstock
English 1320
Works Cited
Kathleen Bagley, Mixed Up. Print. 11 Feb. 2016.
David Dobbs, The Social Life of Genes. Print. 11 Feb. 2016.
Ricks, Thomas E. "The Widening Gap Between Military and Society." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media
Company. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.