Secrets in Your Genetic Ingredients
Leena’s great-grandfather had six fingers on his right hand. After so many years one day, she was wondering if any of his grandchildren inherited this wonder finger. It was only after so much search she could find that one of the fourth generation kid had a sixth supplement finger. Similarly, a friend of hers reported that a child was born in her family suddenly with cat eyes, a phenomenon which was never hitherto observed in the family. Soon an old lady who lived next to her home came with a solution to their dilemma. She confirmed to the utter surprise of the family that one of their great grandmas had cat eyes.
Human beings are unique creatures. Each one of us has a unique bunch of traits and specialties. But remember we share some of these characteristics with our forefathers and grandmas. Some of our traits are controlled by genes that we inherited from parents. We inherit not alone physical attributes but also other behavioral traits. That is why Joe Rogan says “No matter how civilized we are and how much society has curbed violent behavior, human beings still have the same genes they had 10,000 years ago. Our bodies are designed to have a certain amount of physical stress and violence in them. We’re designed to run from jaguars and fight to defend our territory”.
Dimples and curly hair
Remember that nursery Rhyme ‘Dimple cheeks, Rosy lips’. Dimples, as we know, are small, indentations on the cheeks we acquire by birth or develop later in childhood. If you have dimples better check from which grant parent you inherited this beautiful phenomenon.
Dimples are a dominant trait. Having dimples is probably controlled mainly by one gene and influenced by others.
Round hair follicles make straight hair, flattened or c-shaped hair follicles make curly hair. Curly hair is a family trait but its inheritance possibilities are sometimes unpredictable.
Different genetic variations make hair curly in different continents. The same is true in the matter of color and texture of hair. Some have thick black hair whereas others have hairs with a reddish tinge.
For some people left hand is more convenient to use and it comes naturally for them to use it.
Left handedness is controlled by many genes as per scientific findings. It is also in symphony with brain development.
In China and Japan we find people having small thin eyes and among some other Asian nations, we find people with larger eyeballs.
There is definitely an interesting and complex connection between our environment and our genetic structure.
The easiest way we can understand how genes are passed on from one generation to other is to look at what Mendels did.
An easy way to understand
Mendels cross-pollinated purple flower pea plants with white, and the offspring had purple flowers. He then bred these with the same plants. In the second generation of pea plants 75% of the plants were bearing purple flowers and 25% white.
A ‘trait’ passed from the first parent with white flowers, into the third generation. We now know those traits are because of genes.
In the case of the first generation peas, the purple flower coloration is controlled by a dominant gene while the white coloration is controlled by a recessive gene.
When these were bred to create the first generation, each acquired a dominant allele from one parent and a recessive allele from the other. So, although both alleles were passed down, the white color alleles were masked by the dominant purple color alleles.
So when the generations move on, each offspring receives few traits random from the available basket. What your brother got may be different from what you got. “Genes work with probabilities; they don’t work with certainties. So most things that you’re looking at with these genetic tests, it’s not like you’re condemned to automatically get the disease or the syndrome. There’s a lot of factors in play there confirms Sam Keanot”.
Other invisible traits controlled by dominant alleles are High blood pressure, susceptibility to migraines and Tone deafness. A & B blood types are dominant over the O blood type.
A dominant trait in any person is what has descended from a parent through a dominant allele. Vulnerability and susceptibility to certain diseases are also traits. The way this happens is through genes, the genetic information that we get directly from our parents. But there is no reason to worry. In most cases, diseases or other problems do not have one single cause. They come from a combination of our genes, our choices, habits, and our environment. Most common diseases like diabetes, pulmonary problems, Epilepsy, heart diseases and cancer – have various multiple causes that result from the complex interplay between genetics, environmental factors, and personal lifestyles. The phenomenal growth in medicine and diagnostic techniques, improved living environment, and increased life expectancies etcetera, give us today great consolation.
We have two pairs of 23 chromosomes in our body, i.e. 46 in all. The chromosomes contain thousands of genes which code for the proteins that express and control all of the biochemical and physical features.
Are you programmed?
Studies suggest that half of the human traits are inherited, and our life pattern is almost predetermined. Whether it is our reaction to stressful incidents, anger management, adventure spirit or risk taking capacity, your chip is already set. There are people who opine that even our individual preference of religion, lifestyle, and politics depend on our genetic influence. However, these are debatable subjects. “The people I really do dislike are the morally unimaginative kind of evolutionary reductionists who, in the name of science, think they can explain everything in terms of our early hominid ancestors or our genes, with their combination of high-handed tone and disregard for history. Such reductive speculation encourages a really empty scientism” says English Moral Philosopher Bernard Williams.
Some people love to say you have no much choice. Your genes are set for certain to make you act in a particular way. It is fearsome to think that these biological factors are the sole determinants of your future and you are a rudderless ship.
Genes are not the last word. We have to make choices on the basis of our own conscious rational thinking, perceptions and deliberations. It would be futile to say my genes are written and sculptured on rock that way and therefore I do this. What Bruce Lipton says is very relevant in this context: “The implication is that this basic idea we have that we are controlled by our genes is false. It’s an idea that turns us into victims. I’m saying we are the creators of our situation. The genes are merely the blueprints. We are the contractors, and we can adjust those blueprints. And we can even rewrite them”.
Read More from the Author: A TOOL TO GAIN EMOTIONAL STABILITY
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jose Vazhuthanapilly, Bsc., LLB, DBM, CAIIB retired in 2008 as AGM from State Bank of India. He had worked as a visiting faculty in the Bank’s Staff Training Centers for 5 years. He is a writer with 20 books to his credit including books on self-help/psychology. He resides in Ernakulum, Kochi. He is active also in the social service. He can be contacted at Josevazhuthanapilly@gmail.com
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