As a birth professional, I often get asked about traits and my opinion on if babies will come here with this or that! Most people ask about things like eye color and birth weight, but sometimes it’s things like hairline and webbed toes.
Quick Genetics Refresher
You have 46 chromosomes and they are in a specific equation made up of 23 pairs. These pairs are called DNA and is made up of four letters: T, C, G, and A. It looks like a twisted ladder with one side given by your dad and the other side given by your mom. The very last pair (pair 23) is the sex chromosome and it can be XX or XY. Other chromosomes can have mutations that are expressed as various conditions like Down syndrome, sickle-cell disease, or Fragile X syndrome.
Male Domination is Not New to Nature
Let’s first take a look at biology and how nature plays out without human interference.While you are correct in thinking, “Don’t we get 50/50 from each parent?!,” the way these genes actually show up is a bit unfairly swayed! That’s right, you are 60% more likely to have traits that are “active” from your dad simply because nature has a natural preference to express those genes. So many lightbulbs are going off, huh? I know.
This is due to complex epigenetics, or the way your DNA is expressed. Epigenetics plays a role, of course, in your eye color and the way you look physically, but it also impacts your health and wellness. You can think of it like this: think about the trait of a severe health condition, if you inherit it from your mom, it’s likely to show up in a less severe version that it would if you had inherited it from your dad. So there you have it, it does depend on which side of the family you inherit good and “bad” traits!
Surprises in Nature
Genetics is a funny thing! I’ve seen two people who were so sure that their baby was going to be a huge linebacker, but when the time came, a sweet petite little girl slipped into this world. Obviously, everyone was shocked, but more than anything, mom was pleasantly surprised. It was, also, a blatant reminder that we are all just big equations and it takes only a shift in DNA coding to create a brand new person.
One more important thing to know is that a recent study found that men are four times more likely to have mutations because they continue to produce sperm as they age, but women are born with all of the eggs they will ever need. Age plays a role in both male and female reproduction.
Here are seven traits that your baby is likely to inherit from their father:
Physical appearance as a whole is heavily biased towards expressing your father-given genes and there’s much thought that this is due to survival of the fittest. Back when our survival depended on physical endurance and stamina, it was preferred for females to partner with a physically superior males.
If your pop has a mouthful of cavities, it could be that you’re looking at a life filled with trips to the dentist. Better check for a rewards cards!
Women swoon over dimples. They are like precious accessories on an already tall drink of water! Good news about these sweet cheeks is that they are dominant, so your child is likely to have dimples, too. *heart swoon*
Particularly, webbed toes if dad is a carrier of Apert syndrome gene and is over 40 years old.
There is a belief that this is a sneaky way that nature designed to be a way for males to identify their offspring. This could be a fun genetic expression that is still around from hunting and gathering days.
Bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder are among the list of psychological conditions that are passed down via the “Y Linkage.” This is a peculiar relationship that happens when a father passes along a mental health condition (on the Y chromosome) to their son.
You’re more likely to share your dominant hand with your father over your mother if one is left-handed and one is right-handed.
Add this to the list after your child being your husband’s identical twin, their first word being ‘dada,’ and always looks 10x more delighted to see their father!
All jokes aside, nature was designed specifically to create varying equations resulting in varying humans. This is yet a beautiful reminder to never judge other people-- especially people you know nothing about. You never know what is going on in their world--literally and genetically. We are all very complex individuals and the way we are wired is unique to each individual.
I’ll leave you with this: You are exactly who you are supposed to be and you’re rocking being you. You can do this. You are doing this.
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