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How genes influence the choice of life journey

There is more and more evidence that genes encode not only appearance and predisposition toward diseases but also preferences and behavior. Scientists are even attempting to predict eating habits using DNA. How great is the influence of heredity on a person’s character in the material of RIA Novosti.
How genes influence the choice of life journey

The hypothesis that some individual tendencies depend on heredity is increasingly supported. Thus, in 2014, Yale University physician and sociologist Nicholas Christakis and UC San Diego professor of medical genetics and political science James Fowler demonstrated that genes could tell us who to make friends with. Turning to data from a large heart study, the Framingham Heart Study, experts selected 1932 people, most of whom had friendly connections with each other. The analysis of nearly five hundred thousand genetic markers showed that friends shared more common gene variants than strangers.

Similar results were later obtained by US scientists. According to them, the enzyme phosphodiesterase PDE11A4 expressed in the hippocampus of the brain, may be responsible for the manifestation of friendly feelings. Observation of animals helped making this conclusion; they were much more reluctant to communicate with relatives in whom the gene responsible for the production of this enzyme was turned off.

The research in neuroscience and psychology suggests that morality, the brain's ability to distinguish right from wrong, is a product of evolution. The psychologists from the University of Edinburgh, Michael Zakharin and Timothy Bates, wondered whether it could be inherited. By combining two independent studies on twins, the scientists have concluded that genes significantly influence our moral principles.

“Certain genetic predispositions combined with lifestyle, eating habits, sleep patterns and the amount of physical activity can surely influence our achievements, health status, physical performance and eating preferences, but this influence is minimal,” says a member of the Association of Medical Genetics and Russian Association of Human Reproduction, geneticist at the Center for Family Planning and Reproduction, Yulia Zinovyeva.

The same goes for negative behavior. According to the specialist, one should not forget about the importance of environment, which a person is brought up in. Bad habits and maladaptive behavior can be a consequence of the example that adult family members set for the child. Psychological traumas have a great impact - they often influence the choice of life journey.


Photos are from open sources.

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