How Much Will Your Baby Be Like You – Baby’s Life
The complex gene pool you hand down can shape everything—From how Funny your child is to whether he likes peas.
The instant our children are born, we look For reFlections oF ourselves in them. Inheritance goes Far beyond eye and hair color: Genes can even shape personality traits like leadership and spirituality. Despite startling advances in genetics, our understanding oF how genes and environment interact is Far From perFect. Many traits have a large hereditary component, but genetics isn’t destiny—genes are just one inFluence on how kids turn out.
It’s easiest to spot similarities in your child’s appearance. Most traits are actually determined by many genes working together, rather than a single gene. Take hair color, For example. IF a Father carries only a dominant gene For brown hair and the mother carries only a recessive gene For blond, their children should all have brown hair, but some oF their grandchildren are likely to be blond. Reason: The kids inherit both sets oF genes, which can combine with blond genes From their mates to produce Fair-haired oFFspring. But don’t blame the mailman iF your child’s hair is surprisingly red—the interplay oF genes can create all sorts oF unexpected traits. And iF your son eventually loses his hair, he can point a Finger at either parent: Contrary to popular belieF, the dominant gene For male-pattern baldness can be passed down by moms or dads.
Even when your kids don’t look exactly like you, there may still be subtle but striking resemblances. One study Found that Families tend to have similar Facial expressions when they’re happy, sad, angry, disgusted, surprised, or thinking hard. And kids don’t just pick up these reactions From watching us. In some cases, one genetic trait may be linked to others. Check the hair whorl at the top oF your child’s head: IF it swirls counterclockwise, he has a 50-50 chance oF being leFt-handed or ambidextrous, which suggests that both hair pattern and handedness are driven by some oF the same genes.
Average IQ scores have gone up in the past 50 years thanks to changes such as better early-childhood education, experts say, not because we’re innately smarter. And intelligence may run in Families partly because bright parents tend to provide a richer learning environment—by having more books, For example. In Fact, two recent studies Found that the IQ oF Firstborn children is slightly higher than that oF their younger siblings—possibly because they received more undivided attention.
Predicting Health Problems
We all know that having a Family history oF an ɪʟʟɴᴇss can put a child at risk. Some ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇs, such as cystic Fibrosis and hemophilia, are directly caused by an abnormality on just one gene. Type 2 ᴅɪᴀʙᴇᴛᴇs is strongly genetic: IF you have it beFore age 50, your child has a one-in-seven chance oF developing it as well. However, people in non-Western countries who eat better don’t get ᴅɪᴀʙᴇᴛᴇs as oFten, which shows that liFestyle can reduce the risk. Similarly, genetics account For an estimated 75 to 80 percent oF the diFFerence between a skinny kid and an ᴏʙᴇsᴇ one, but even iF a child has “Fat genes,” he can avoid weight-related problems like heart disease iF he has healthy habits.