6 Traits You Never Knew Were Determined by Your Genetics


Let’s start with the basis:

  • You, me, and all humans have 46 chromosomes in the nucleus of every cells, 23 from each parent.
  • Each chromosome consists of very tightly packed double helix, common know as DNA.
  • Genes are lengths of DNA found on the chromosomes, each gene codes a different physical, psychological, and personality trait(s)
  • A trait is a specific characteristic of an organism. Traits are determined by genes or the environment, or more commonly by interactions between them.


Genetic traits are passed down from parents to children. However, genes don’t just pass down from direct  parents, but from generation to generation. In fact, genes are nothing more than instructions encoded by the DNA in living organisms. This information tells the cell machinery how to build and function. Most living organisms are able to follow genetic instructions given by the DNA, which instructs the cells to make the body and organs as well as determine genetic “traits”. So, do you see any of your genetic traits on this list?


Photic Sneeze Reflex aka Sun Sneeze


Sunlight Sneeze – Have you ever noticed that you feel the urge to sneeze when you step into bright light? It’s called photic sneeze reflex, and it seems to happen in about a quarter of the population. It’s not clear just how light can lead to sneezing, but scientists do know that it’s tied to a gene your parents pass down to you. If one parent is a sun-sneezer, their child has a 50% chance of being one, too.

Cerumen aka Earwax


Earwax – Is yours dry, grayish, and flaky? Or wet, yellow, and sticky? It depends on which version, or allele, you have of one gene, called ABCC11. The same gene is tied to the smell of the sweat in your armpits as well. If you have the allele for wet, sticky earwax, you’re more likely to have body odor than someone with the other kind.

Achromotrichia aka Gray Hair


Going Gray? – We all wonder when we’ll get our first gray strand. Scientists found a gene that helps figure out if — and how early — you’ll get yours. The gene, called IRF4, helps make the pigment in your hair, eyes, and skin. It may give us insight on aging and possibly how to hold off those silver locks.

Weight loss or weight gain aka “The Struggle”


Having trouble with weight gain/weight loss? –  What you eat and how much you exercise isn’t the whole story when it comes to your size. Your DNA also may play a part. Scientists have found that some people’s genes nudge them toward a higher-than-healthy weight.

Weight Gain Bonus: A study published in Nutrients from researchers at the University of Guelph found that nearly 80 percent of preschoolers carried at least one of the genotypes that makes them want to snack on sweets instead of veggies. Similarly, a prior study published in Chemosensory Perception examined a variation on the TAS2R38 taste-receptor gene, which causes vegetables like Brussels sprouts and kale to taste more bitter to certain people.

Psychology of Music Preference aka Music Taste


Musical taste and preferences – A study out of London showed a strong argument for genetics being just about as responsible for taste in music as nature and environment. That is until you reach the age of 50, at which point your environment begins to play a bigger role in your music taste.

A love for Coffea arabica aka Coffee


Coffee lovers –  a love of coffee—or more accurately, the way that your body metabolizes caffeine—can be passed down the genetic pipeline. In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers compared coffee drinkers in Italy and the Netherlands and found that those with a greater expression of the PDSS2 gene reported drinking less coffee. They theorize that those people metabolize caffeine slower and therefore need less of it to feel happy and awake. As for the others?


More than traits:

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