It used to be believed that human beings were born without any knowledge or skills, like a blank sheet of paper. He learned the world around him and acquired all the character traits, including the simplest ones, through living in a society. However, scientists have changed their minds with the discovery of genes, and we now know that many traits are firmly embedded in our DNA.
How often do you want to lie on the couch in front of the TV, watch a series or play on a console, and do nothing? Sometimes, nothing can make you stop wasting time and do useful or necessary things because you are so lazy.
Well. Your genetics may be to blame for this. A group of scientists has found that animals may have a so-called “lazy gene.” The study selected 26 pairs of the most active rats and 26 pairs of the laziest and then crossed them within their groups for 10 generations. It turned out that the offspring of active rats ran 10 times more often than lazy ones. This was influenced by a set of approximately 36 genes that explain the motivation for action.
We regard the occurrence of phobias as a social factor. As a child, someone was very scared of the dark after hearing a terrible story; another almost drowned and is now afraid to approach the water. However, a study from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta showed that phobias could be passed down from generation to generation.
During the study, mice were shocked when they tried to sniff cherry blossoms. Then it was discovered that the offspring of these mice are afraid of the cherry blossoms, although they were not exposed to the current. So, perhaps your fear of the dark is because your ancestors had to seek refuge in dark caves, where dangerous predators often lived.
Perception of stress
People can perceive the same stressful situation in different ways. And genetics is also to blame for this. When a stressful event occurs, the brain’s hippocampus either enlarges or shrinks. Expansion or contraction depends on the number of genes responsible for risk perception. The more of these genes, the more the volume of the hippocampus decreases and the more negative the reaction to a stressful situation.
And vice versa – the fewer risk genes, the less pronounced the reaction will be. In addition, for such people, stress can even cause positive emotions. That is why some people strive to find themselves in constant stress, go to strange and sometimes dangerous actions.
Craving for travel
Some people live traveling. They must go somewhere, see something new. They cannot adequately explain their cravings – they want to, and that’s it. Most likely, such people have the DRD4-7R gene, which is informally called the gene for wanderlust.
People with DRD4-7R are more curious and restless. They have a craving for exploring the unknown, and, according to scientists, this is due to the way of life of their ancestors. Individuals that traveled far were more likely to develop this gene. Those who choose to stay close to the homeland of all humankind may not tolerate the change of scenery at all.
The DRD4-7R gene is found in about 20 percent of the population and is responsible for travel cravings and a positive perception of change and new acquaintances. They are more likely to be at risk and addicted.
Some people become highly addicted after just a few smoked cigarettes. Others may be utterly indifferent to any stimulants or easily cope with the emerging cravings for them. Scientists believe that genetics is also responsible for this.
So, for example, about 75% of the blame for the propensity to start smoking lies with genetics. In about 60% of cases, a genetic predisposition leads to addiction. As for the ability to quit smoking, in 54% of cases, genes are also responsible for this.
Sometimes, violent people have come out of a society in which violence is perceived as something positive. However, they are brought up in the same society; for some reason, they are more prone to aggressive actions.
The journal Molecular Psychiatry published the results of a Finnish study that analyzed the genes of nearly 900 criminals. It turned out that at least 5-10% of all violent crimes in Finland were committed by people with the CDH13 gene and a low-activity genotype of monoamine oxidase A (MAOA). These genes can cause violent behavior, and these people are 13 times more likely to commit violent acts.
The researchers note that people with these genes may not necessarily commit violent acts, but they are more aggressive.
Nutritionists often provide general dietary guidelines for weight loss, but this does not always work. Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that certain eating habits are embedded in our genes. So, for example, there is a version of the gene associated with salt intake and high blood pressure.
The study found that people who received DNA-based advice improved their performance more effectively than those who followed standard diets.
Choosing a partner
We believe that we choose a partner consciously, focusing on appearance, intelligence, character, and other factors. But genetics also has a great influence on choice. In our article about scientifically proven ways to be attractive, we talked about the main histocompatibility complex – a region of the genome that plays an important role in the immune system and the development of immunity.
In short, we are attracted to people with a complex that is different from ours. And the stronger this difference, the higher the likelihood of liking each other. Evolution provided for this mechanism to exclude closely related relationships.
Why does someone like classics while others like rap? It turns out that musical taste is partly dependent on genetics. Interestingly, this influence is not permanent. For example, for people under 50, the genetic influence on musical taste is approximately 55%. In people over 50, genetics has about 40% of the impact, while the environment influences the remaining 60%.
In addition, the motivation to listen to music also depends on genes, and they have about 25% influence on this desire.
Driving a car
The researchers believe poor driving may be due to a variation in the BDNF gene, which is responsible for brain neurotrophic factors. This protein stimulates and supports neuronal development.
People who drive poorly produce the wrong amount of protein, making it harder for them to retain knowledge and put it into practice. This is manifested not only in driving but in general in all areas of activity.