5 Traits You Never Knew Were Hereditary

We’ve all heard it before: “I’ve got my mom’s eyes,” “I’m tall like my dad,” or “athletic ability must run in the family.” While physical traits like eye color and height have an obvious genetic component, many non-physical traits can also be passed down from generation to generation. Some of them may even come as a surprise. Ever wondered why you have certain quirks or preferences? They could be ingrained in your DNA. Here are 5 interesting traits that you may not have realized were hereditary.

1. Fear of Heights

Do you get queasy at the top of a tall building, or does the thought of climbing a ladder make your head spin? You may have inherited a fear of heights from one or both of your parents. Studies show that there’s a genetic link in the development of phobias, including fear of heights. While environmental factors such as traumatic events can contribute to the development of a phobia, genetics also plays an important role.

2 .Wake-Up Time

Are you a morning lark or a night owl? While environmental factors such as work schedules and lifestyle choices can certainly influence your sleep patterns, research indicates that genetics can also influence your natural wake-up time. One paper from Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine explains that genes can determine how fast, or slow, our body clocks tick. Genetic mutations that occur from one generation to the next can impact our internal clocks. This explains why parents who are early risers may have kids with faster, or slower body clocks.

3. Preferred Ice Cream Flavors

Who doesn’t love ice cream? Many of us have a favorite, go-to flavor, and as it turns out, your taste preferences may be influenced by your genes. Research shows that genetics can affect the way we taste certain flavors, such as a food that’s bitter, salty, or sweet. If you inherited a sweet tooth from one of your parents, it’s not just a coincidence — it’s in your DNA!

4. Mosquito Bite Frequency

Mosquitoes are one of the most common and irritating pests that humans encounter, and some people seem to be more attractive to them than others. While many factors can influence mosquito behavior, including body odor, heat, and movement, genetics may also play a role. If you’re one of those unlucky people who always seem to get bitten, the reason why could be in your genes. Studies show that certain genetic factors can make individuals more attractive to mosquitoes, and variations in genes may make you more susceptible to mosquito bites. 

5. Fear of Public Speaking

Public speaking is a common fear that affects many people, but did you know that it could be hereditary? Research indicates that the COMT gene may be associated with the development of social anxiety, which can manifest as a fear of public speaking. If one or both of your parents doesn’t like speaking in front of a crowd, this could explain why giving a presentation or speech makes you sweat.

We often think of genetics in terms of physical traits like eye color, freckles, or dimples, but there are also many non-physical traits that we inherited from our parents. From fears and phobias to hair texture and food preferences, our DNA can influence many aspects of our lives. Next time you find yourself with a quirk or tendency that seems unexplainable, remember — it may be in your genes!

Your DNA can unlock plenty of fascinating insights, including where your ancestors came from. Take a DNA test and start your journey of discovery! 


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  • EJ

    Ellen Jane Sanditen

    May 21, 2023

    Depression or mental illness?
    I know we all suffer some emotional issues, but really wondering why I am so effected and others are not.
    One relative known to be instutionalized.

  • KH

    Karen Holecz

    May 21, 2023

    I knew some of that. But mosquito attraction, fear of heights, and ice cream preference was a surprise. Very cool.