Scientists Named 8 Features We Get With Our Genes
Many people have heard something like, “You have your mother’s eyes but your father’s temper.” However, few people say, “I’m agoraphobic, just like my grandfather.” But DNA stores much more information than we think and even though scientists still can’t give a clear answer as to what influences a person’s character more: the genes, the environment, or the parenting style, many studies show that we inherit not just the appearance, but also some “memories” such as phobias.
We at Bright Side have found out how the “memory of the ancestors” can shape our personalities thanks to DNA. Read this article and find out what features you may have inherited from your great-grandparents.
Memories can really be transferred across generations but not in the form that we are used to. This is proven by a study where mice were trained to avoid any smell similar to the smell of cherry flowers. This influences the DNA of the subjects: the part of the DNA responsible for the sensitivity to this smell became more active in the sperm of the mice-fathers.
As a result, the children of these mice and their grandchildren were very sensitive to the cherry smell and tried to avoid it even though they had no actual reasons to do it. The experiment shows that such a traumatizing experience can influence the DNA and the behavior of new generations.
Scientists think that the results of this study are important for researching phobias, anxiety, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder.)
So, maybe your fear of spiders is not as irrational as it seems?
Some character traits are acquired as we get older and some are already in our DNA. For example, the genes WSCD2 and PCDH15 are connected to extroversion. So maybe the reason you’re so sociable is due to your ancestors and not because your parents enrolled you in every extracurricular activity imaginable.
Besides, there is a genetic correlation between extroversion and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.)
3. Sense of humor
Some people think that a sense of humor is an acquired trait that depends on the environment a person grows up in. But it was discovered during a study that people with a short allele of the 5-HTTLPR gene show positive reactions such as smiling and laughing more often. The subjects with the short allele laughed and smiled more often than the people with the long allele of the same gene.
The results of the study were proven even when taking different ages, genders, ethnicity, and symptoms of depression into consideration.
4. Susceptibility to stress
Some people are more susceptible to stress and this trait can be transferred from parents to children. Experts claim that if a mother is stressed while she is pregnant, her child may be more susceptible to it.
Moreover, if the parents were stressed long before they had a child, there’s still a risk because chronic stress can damage chromosomes.
However, there is no need to panic: stress-related DNA changes can be reversed to some extent with conscious meditation and behavior therapy.
5. Susceptibility to addictions
Genes are 40%-60% responsible for the development of addictions. For example, the connection between addiction and the gene D2 has been studied in great detail. D2 is a type of dopamine receptor. Probably, the people whose D2 dopamine receptors don’t work as well as they should are more susceptible to taking drugs that cause addiction.
6. Ability to sleep well for a few hours
Some people can sleep for less than 5 hours and still be able to function normally. It’s all about the p.Tyr362His gene that is also called the Thatcher gene because the Prime Minister could sleep only 4 hours a night and still feel great. People with such a variant of the gene don’t just sleep less but also perform mental tasks better even after not sleeping for 38 hours.
By the way, it wasn’t just Thatcher who had this “superpower” — Thomas Edison slept less than 5 hours too.
7. Inclination toward saving money
When it comes to money, our actions can be explained by natural factors in 30% of cases, according to experts. This was shown by a study published in The Journal of Political Economy. It turned out that some people are genetically more susceptible to saving money regardless of the level of their income, their gender, and education.
Besides, “genetically” economical people have bad habits less often and they are less susceptible to suffering from obesity or becoming a smoker. This happens because they are more consistent in their behavior and their self-control thanks to their DNA.
Genes can play a bigger role than practice when it comes to a person’s music talent, especially in recognizing tone and rhythm. A study of identical and fraternal twins compared the abilities of people who liked music and singing. It turned out that some people who practiced much less showed better results than those who practiced more.
One of the twins practiced 20,228 hours more than his brother but couldn’t surpass his brother’s music abilities. Scientists explain this by saying that some aspects of the music talent are in our genes.
As you can see, we get a lot more from our ancestors than we think. What interesting features did you get from your family members? Tell us in the comment section below!