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Statement of Purpose

As a child born and raised in Delhi, India, I never questioned the idea of my present life
being a reflection of my actions from past lifetimes. The ideology of karma, endemic to Indian
society, emphasizes that everything in our lives – from the amount of wealth we possess to the
sickness we suffer from – is a consequence of our prior actions. However, I began to
question/doubt this belief when I chose a biology-focused curriculum in high school and
learned about inherited traits, gene function, expression and regulation. Is sickness really an
outcome of karma? In the battle between genes and karma, who wins the right to determine a
person’s fate? Or is fate a culmination of both karmic and genetic influences? In the case of
identical twins, what dictates which one of the two battles cancer and which one will struggle to
survive calculus? If it is purely genetic, then what factors are responsible for these lifetransforming differences? What genes and pathways are