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10 Genetic Quirks You Didn’t Know You Got From Your Parents

Discover the genetic quirks hidden within our DNA!

We usually think of heredity in simple terms: You’ve got your mother’s nose and your father’s eyes. You can also thank your parents for your hair color. And you likely have a few health issues from both. But all sorts of other exciting things came wrapped up in your DNA.

The genetic quirks you can inherit from your parents are far broader than your well-being and physical appearance. Your genome dictates, or at least heavily influences, many areas of your life.

Who knew that whether you like coffee or if you hate exercising can be traced back to your genes? From the food and music you like to your driving skills, here are 10 ways your inherited genetic quirks shape your life.

Keep reading as Science In The World explores the remarkable domain of DNA and uncovers the surprising genetic quirks that connect us to our family tree.

Genetic Quirk
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Genetic quirk: Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl

“Early to bed, early to rise” sounds like sound advice. But not if your genes are working against you. A study in Nature Communications back in 2019 found that individuals might be genetically predisposed to be early risers or night owls.

Researchers used data from almost 700,000 people who shared their data with genetic companies. They found more than 351 spots on the genome that affect our waking and sleeping habits.

In other words, that internal clock of yours might be pre-programmed with a snooze button. So don’t let anyone tell you and your genetic quirks when to get out of bed in the morning!

Genetic quirk: Your pain tolerance

If you have red hair, you didn’t just get your ginger locks from your parents. You also got this genetic quirk: the ability to resist stinging pain better than brunettes or blondes.

In a series of analyses, Danish researchers at Aalborg University injected their subjects with capsaicin, which is the active component of chili. They discovered that redheads were less sensitive to this sort of pain.

Due to this, they can tolerate spicy foods better, but also the discomfort of a pinprick. Although, other research shows that the world’s 2% of redheads are less responsive to injected forms of anesthesia and more sensitive to cold.

Genetic quirk: Your coffee obsession

This inherited trait could end up costing you a lot of money over your lifetime. But your love of coffee, or, we should say, how your body metabolizes caffeine, gets passed down the genetic pipeline.

In a study issued in Scientific Reports, researchers compared coffee drinkers in the Netherlands and Italy. They discovered that people with a greater expression of the PDSS2 gene said they were drinking less coffee.

They theorize that those individuals metabolize caffeine slower and need less of it in order to feel awake and happy.

Genetic quirk: Your aggression as a toddler

If your terrible twos were a little more severe than the average, it might have something to do with your parents. But not because of their so-so parenting skills.

According to a study in Psychological Medicine, frustratingly aggressive behaviors like biting, hitting, and kicking in early youth have more to do with genetics than environmental factors.

Luckily, this behavior won’t continue as long as it’s handled carefully and mindfully. A study in PLOS One concluded that even though early aggression can be an inherited trait, after the age of 6, it has more to do with environmental factors and parenting habits.

Genetic Quirk
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Genetic quirk: Distinctive facial expressions

You know that “severe look” that you share with your dad? You may think it’s resulted from spending all that time together and subconsciously mimicking his expression since you were a child… But you’d be wrong.

Surprisingly, a study of blind subjects and their sighted relatives published in PNAS showed that they shared significantly similar facial expressions. This was even true for relatives who were separated at birth and hadn’t met until many years later.

Genetic quirk: Fear of visiting the Dentist

If you’d rather take a flying leap than sit in the dentist’s chair, you can blame your dad. It’s true! The transmission of fear from parents to their kids through socialization has been scientifically proven to include dental visits, as well.

In a 2012 study in the International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry, researchers discovered that if one family member experiences severe anxiety about getting dental work performed on them, the rest of the family is also more likely to feel the same way.

Furthermore, minors are most likely to take their emotional cues from their dads, rather than their moms, when it comes to visiting the dentist.

Genetic quirk: Procrastination

For some folks, procrastination feels as natural as breathing, eating, and sleeping. And it’s something they might have picked up from their mom or dad.

According to research published in Psychological Science, almost half of an individual’s procrastination tendencies can be blamed on genetics.

Furthermore, according to another study also published in Psychological Science, those who have a larger amygdala, which is the brain’s emotional processing center and something that’s passed down from your parents, were more likely to procrastinate.

Genetic quirk: Whether or not you’re a gym rat

You know that energizing feeling you get when you finish a workout? No? Well, either way, it might be in your genes. Researchers have been trying to figure out the specific genetics that impact interest in physical activity.

Experts from the University of Georgia have offered preliminary findings indicating that individuals might have a gene that interferes with dopamine release. This feel-good neurotransmitter controls your brain’s pleasure and reward centers.

This gene combined a person’s personality, affects one’s natural urge to be active… or not. Although, this shouldn’t give you an excuse to skip the workout.

Even if you don’t have the inherited traits that incline you to appreciate working out, you can still evolve your love of exercise, even with a genetic predisposition to be a couch potato.

Personal trainers recommend two ways to form exercise habits: First, find an activity you like. And then, find others who’ll do it with you to offer encouragement.

Genetic quirk: Bad driving skills

In 2009, researchers at the University of California discovered that approximately 3 out of 10 individuals have a gene that makes them inadequate behind the wheel.

A protein called BDNF helps the brain link memory to physical responses, and people with impaired driving genes produce less of it. These people automatically begin with a lower level of driving capacity and need help repairing their mistakes and learning new motor skills.

There aren’t any peer-reviewed studies currently linking this gene to car crash rates. However, researchers say they wouldn’t be surprised if those with the gene were more likely to get into accidents.

Genetic Quirk
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Genetic quirk: Your trustworthiness

Do you regularly find an excuse for bailing on your plans with friends? Genetics may be partly responsible for your answer to this question. In a study of twins printed in PNAS, researchers at the University of Arizona discovered that trust is 30% heritable.

And if you’re more suspicious? That’s because of your negative life experiences. According to the study, suspicion isn’t inherited and “appears to be primarily socialized.”

But don’t worry! If you have a hard time trusting people, help is out there. We think you’ll find this read from Amazon useful: Daring to Trust: Opening Ourselves to Real Love and Intimacy

What are YOUR thoughts on this matter? Please share your thoughts with our readers in the comments section below.

And if you liked this article, Science In The World highly recommends you also read: The Science Behind Traditional Chinese Medicine… Is It Better for You?


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