Health | Did You Know

13 Surprising Things Kids Inherit From Their Mothers


I'm sure you learned everything you need to about genetics, DNA, and the facts of life when you were in high school.

Everyone knows that you get 23 chromosomes from each of your parents, which pair up to make your unique genetic makeup.

But when it comes to specific qualities and traits, your mom's genes are pulling most of the weight in this partnership.

Traits that are determined by one parent's DNA are called sex-linked, and your mother's genes are responsible for most sex-linked qualities.

So if you have any of these 13 qualities, you may have your mom to thank - or blame.

1. Colorblindness

Mutations sound like something out a science fiction novel or superhero movie, but they're actually very common.

Basically, a mutation happens when your parents' genes have been copied out of sequence or changed.

In cases where the change is linked to the X chromosome, mom's genes play a bigger part.

While some mutations are serious, others like colorblindness and heterochromia are harmless. These days, you can even correct colorblindness with special glasses.

2. Body Shape

We can be really tough on ourselves about our shape, but a lot of it is determined long before we're born.

Your body's bone structure, frame and muscle mass are all inherited - mainly from your mother's side.

If you have an "apple" shape with a round midsection, that may be natural too. As much as 80% of your body fat levels can be chalked up to genetics.

3. Character

This is one quality where researchers are still split. Does nature or nurture play a bigger role in your attitude?

More and more, the answer seems to be both. A person's tendency towards anger and depression can both be tracked in their genes. And it seems like the mother's genes play the biggest role.

One of the most studied traits is a need for control, or perfectionism. So if your mother picked on every little fault, and you grew up to do the same, your shared genetics could be to blame.

4. Complexion

Science tells us that the quality of your skin - including how fast it ages - are connected to mitochondrial DNA from your mother.

Even painful and irritating conditions like psoriasis are partly linked to genetics. But that's actually good news.

Your skin is also influenced by plenty of environmental factors, from the moisturizer you use to how much time you spend in the sun.

5. Dominant Hand

Whether a child uses their left or right hand depends on both parents, but the mother's genes play a bigger role.

In fact, the easiest way to guess if a child will be left-handed is studying the mother's family tree.

Around the world, about 10% of people are left-handed, and there's evidence it gives you an upper hand in sports.

6. Risk of Diabetes

More research is still being done, but there seems to be a strong connection between parents and children when it comes to type 2 diabetes.

And of course, women who have diabetes while pregnant can pass on high blood sugar levels to their children.

New evidence also suggest that an expecting mother's dietary choices have long-term effects on her child's diabetes risk.

7. Chronic Conditions

There are a host of genetic conditions and chronic diseases connected to a mother's genes, and some are cause for serious concern.

One common variety of sex-linked diseases are glandular conditions like Hashimoto's disease, which affects the thyroid.

A family history of Alzheimer's or dementia on your mother's side is also a sign that you could be at risk later in life.

Finally, some inherited conditions like Huntington's disease are more likely if your mother has them. In the case of that disease, it's a 50-50 chance of inheriting the gene or not.

8. Hair Type

Now, the color of a person's hair depends on the mix of dominant and recessive genes in their family. In that case, darker colors get an advantage.

But your style of hair - curly, straight, wavy - is linked to your mother's genes.

Even distinct features like a widow's peak part can be traced back to mom's side of the family. So can odd conditions like Menkes disease.

And yes, it's true that the mother's genes are more responsible for baldness, because it's linked to the X chromosome.

But all sorts of environmental factors and medical conditions can lead to baldness too.

9. Sleep Patterns

New research shows that a mother's sleep habits, including insomnia and fitful sleeping, have a strong influence on her children.

While this could be genetic, another theory suggests babies learn to copy their mother's resting habits while still in the womb.

The one thing that's clear is fathers don't tend to share sleep habits with their children. So blame mom if you always need a nap in the afternoon.

10. Hemophilia

This genetic condition, which affects your body's ability to make blood clots, is passed on by the X chromosome, and so usually linked to a child's mother.

While it's not a life-threatening disease, it can lead to other complications like hemorrhages and arthritis.

11. Migraines

These painful and irritating headaches can be passed down from one generation to the next. But the good news is they can also be managed.

While your mother may give you her predisposition to have migraines, you can avoid them by identifying your migraine triggers and keeping away from them.

If that doesn't work, there are also helpful ways to deal with migraine pain.

12. Intelligence

Studies show that brainpower mainly comes from mom's side of the family. In fact, the best predictor for a child's IQ score is their mother's own score, which is on average within 15 points.

Still, experts say your genetics only account for about 60% of your intelligence. The rest is up to you and how you apply yourself.

But a mother's love seems to make you smart too: children with strong bonds to their mothers experienced better brain growth in one study.

13. Cheating (maybe)

Blaming your infidelity on your genes sounds like a bad excuse, but it just might be true.

A 2016 survey of 1,000 people found that 71% of cheating women said their mothers did the same thing.

That might suggest being raised by a cheater turns you into one, but another study by the University of Queensland found that their could be a "cheating gene" - although both parents can carry it.

It all sounds a little silly, but science has already proved you can spot a cheater from their voice alone.

What did you inherit from your mother?

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