A Genetic Counselor’s Reflection on 2017 and Hope for 2018

By Lauren Beretich — December 19, 2017

1 min read

You’d have to be a hermit to miss the fact that, newswise, it’s been a heck of a year.  And much of it can be summed up with one word.

Worldview.

Maybe you expected me to say something else… a particular four letter word perhaps, but hear me out.

Worldview is  a term that is often talked about.  But, do you really know what it means?  For me, the definition was fuzzy, so like any good student of life and genetic counselor, I looked it up. My friends at Merriam-Webster define worldview as a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint.

In layman’s terms, your worldview is how YOU view the world.  What is so beautiful is that everyone’s worldview is different and colored by YOUR own experiences.  Like a snowflake or your family’s deviled egg recipe – each is unique.  

I affectionately call myself “culturally confused”.  I grew up in the Midwest, went to school in the Southeast, live in the great state of Texas, and have traveled almost everywhere else.  While I’m still torn between “Hey guys!” and “Hey y’all!”,  these experiences have absolutely broadened my own worldview.  

It’s obvious that differing worldviews have caused conflict, hierarchism, and hate at home as well as abroad.  Turn on your television to find news stories that are riddled with sexism, racism, and wars over religion.  There is such a focus on our differences, will people ever stop to think about what we have in common?  

From a genetics perspective, humans are all 99.9% genetically identical. That means you and your next-door neighbor share more than just a zip code. Because our genes are so similar to one another, small genetic differences are often the most noticeable. Our genes dictate the color of our eyes, the shape of our earlobes, and almost every other trait we have.

So, while we may look or act different from one another, our genes are more or less the same.  We also know, there’s no gene that makes one smarter, superior, or more entitled. Our genes generally don’t change throughout our lifetime.  On the other hand, our worldview is something that we acquire and can evolve.

As the New Year approaches, let’s resolve to widen our worldview.  I hope for a world where our differences are celebrated, rather than disputed.  Because at the end of the day, we are really more alike than we think – your genetic counselor said so.