How Much Will Your Baby Be Like You?

Dominant DNA

Scientists used to think people had up to 100,000 genes -- until the Human Genome Project revealed that we actually have closer to 25,000. Why the huge overestimate? It turns out most genes are multitaskers and do their jobs by marshalling other genes -- turning them on and off or boosting their effects -- so we need fewer genes overall. As a result, few characteristics can actually be traced back to a single gene (there aren't enough genes to go around for that). Nevertheless, kids have a greater chance of inheriting some characteristics rather than others. Here are some of the traits you're most likely to pass on.

Strongly Genetic

  • Height
  • Body fat
  • Fingerprint ridge count
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy (some forms)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Type 2 diabetes

Moderately Genetic

  • Blood pressure
  • Maximum heart rate
  • Cleft lip/palate
  • IQ
  • Shyness
  • Temperament
  • Memory
  • Diet preferences
  • Type 1 diabetes

Copyright © 2007. Used with permission from the September 2007 issue of Parents magazine.

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