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Insomnia, Happiness, and 5 Other Things You Inherited From Your Parents

What Do We Get from Our Parents?

Parents, right? If you love them, you love them, but if you don’t, you still have to love them. They say we choose our families before being born, but if that’s true, some folks out there must have been drunk when they chose their families! And when it comes to family and genes, things don’t end at a simple argument on politics at the good old Thanksgiving dinner, oh no!

A significant portion of who we are was inherited from them, so to speak, from the inside out. So if you want to sing along to “I got it from my mamma”, let’s see what the things that you got from your parents are!

inherit parents
Photo by fizkes from Shutterstock

Genetic inheritance

Did it ever occur to you that you have your mom’s button nose? Or that sneezing in bright sunlight is something you inherited from your dad? Or, if you’ve been a redhead newborn, you must have wondered if the mailman had anything to do with it; after all, no one in your family is ginger!

These questions might seem harmless initially, but yes, you should have a one-on-one with the mailman. Just kidding. According to Dawn Allain, a licensed genetic counselor, and director of the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, it’s close to impossible to comprehend where all your traits are coming from fully.

Most traits are highly influenced by various genes, and you get something from each of your parents. Besides, the environment plays a huge role in this, which means that you can change whatever you don’t like about yourself.

How you inherit traits

It’s nice to try to understand where you’re coming from. Even if you don’t get super-detailed answers, there are still a couple of things you can learn from genetics. First, we need to understand how inheritance works.

There are three main ways in which you could inherit anything from your parents. First, we start with the “big boss,” the dominant gene. If you have the dominant gene, you will most likely inherit a specific trait.

For instance, you might get the eye color. If both your parents have brown eyes, the chances of you having the same color of eyes are very high if you get the dominant gene. The second one is through a recessive gene, where both your parents need to have the recessive gene for you to have a specific trait.

If you have blue eyes, then your parents must have carried a gene for blue eyes, even if they don’t share the same color. Last but not least, there are X-linked traits, which are mainly found on the X chromosome and are specifically passed on through the mother.

How much weight can you lose?

There are two main types of fat in our body: “good” fat, which helps our metabolism and maintains that healthy weight we’re all looking for, and “bad” white fat, which might cause obesity and other types of disease if you have way too much of it.

Every single individual has a bit of each type, but the amount of brown fat, hence the path to that picture-perfect metabolism, could be inherited from your mom, as a study published in “Nature Communications” showed. Luckily, there’s another trait you can get from your mom, and that is intelligence.

How easily do you gain weight?

But here’s another catch: if your mom’s genes are helping you out with brown fat and you still have trouble losing weight, you can blame your dad for it, as the same study revealed. The amount of fat you can store, especially around your organs, which is also known as visceral fat, could be partially determined by genes you inherited from your father.

Genetics aren’t always nice, especially when it comes to weight, but luckily, we always have options. If you didn’t quite inherit a flat stomach and athletic silhouette, you could always help yourself and change some of your lifestyle choices. Trust me, they play a much bigger part in our wellness than genetics!

Photo by Ground Picture from Shutterstock

Your ability to focus

If your mother has low levels of serotonin, a well-known brain chemical that has been linked to mood changes, then you are far more likely to develop attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder throughout your life, as a study published in “JAMA Psychiatry” revealed.

The genes that are passed down from mother to child and impact serotonin production seem to have some sort of influence on your ability to focus. If it sounds remotely familiar, then you might want to consider going to a specialist.

There’s nothing wrong with having hyperactivity disorder. On the contrary, it might help you live better and more easily because you’d learn how to adjust to your uniqueness!

If you hit puberty too soon

Puberty, right? Our first chance to dread our lives without knowing exactly why While puberty is filled with “fun” milestones that make you feel horrible in your own body, from acne to weight gain or even monstrous overnight breasts that you’re initially ashamed of, it is a crucial period in our lives.

We have to go through it to become adults, whether we like it or not. Naturally, both parents’ genetics play a huge role in the exact timeline on which you start this big change. However, if it hit off quite prematurely, meaning 8 years old in girls and 9 years old in boys, that might be because of the genes you got from your father, as a study published in “The New England Journal of Medicine” explained.

To be more specific, they identified a genetic mutation that leads to a certain type of premature puberty. If you have that mutation, you’ll have to deal with everything related to puberty way before your friends.

Your laugh lines

I don’t know about you, but I simply love my laugh lines. Also, how well we age and how much it shows is fully determined on a cellular level by the accumulation of damage over our lifetime to our mitochondrial DNA, which are the genes we get from our mother.

Environmental factors such as sun exposure, smoking, and a nasty diet could ultimately cause mtDNA damage. However, this doesn’t exclude the possibility that you inherited some damage from your mother.

The more mtDNA filled with mutations you get, the faster you will age and the more it will show in various traits, such as wrinkles and gray hair. But then again, you can’t put all the blame on your mother’s genes; if you take good care of your body, you might alleviate the effect of these mutations, so make sure you do the work, too!

Your mood

Mothers could deeply influence our mood in many different ways, and it’s not only by grounding us or serving us broccoli three times a week.

A certain part of our brains, known as the corticolimbic system, which is responsible for emotional regulation and plays a great role in mood disorders such as depression, is far more likely to be passed down from mothers to daughters, rather than any other possible combination. In other words, daughters inherit their moods from their mothers.

Now that we discussed the scientific aspect of our genes, I feel the need to insert the spiritual aspect, too. You see, we might inherit their smiles, grey hair, and so on, but we also inherit a certain spiritual DNA from our ancestors. If you’re curious to find out more about yourself, I strongly recommend you read “Our Spiritual DNA” by Carmel Niland.

If you enjoyed reading this piece, you also need to read this: The World in 2100. Here’s What Scientists Think


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