You probably know that DNA is responsible for the features we inherit from our ancestors. It’s the chain of all genes and baby inherits half of it from the mother and another half from the father. On that way, every baby collects half of the features from both parents and a quarter from every grandparent and so on.
This mix of genes will affect the baby’s eye color, a color of his or her hair and skin, facial and body features, height and weight, his or her personality and special abilities. If we know that more than 30,000 genes determine how our baby will look, it is obvious that there are a lot of combinations for mixing. That also means that we can’t precisely predict our baby’s look, but there is some percentage of probability that can be escorted. Let’s see.
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You already know that two parents with brown eyes can get a blue-eyed baby. The opposite situation is also possible. Parents with blue eyes can get a brown-eyed baby. Everyone was laughing at such parents, and they were the victims of many jokes and teasing. But, there was no need for something like this. All is about Genetics.
The fact is that eye color is determined by many different genes. One type of genes gives the colors and other control the amount of pigment called Melanin. That means that more brown pigment will trump blue or the opposite. In some cases, they are equal and give a lot of variables from the hazel to chestnut color.
Genes can be dominant and recessive. But, when we talk about eyes color, it is a matter of lesser or stronger effects of certain genes form. It seems that both types of genes have the influence in this particular case. To make all more complicated, up to sixteen genes determine how much pigment a baby will inherit from parents. That means that we can’t predict baby’s eyes color as easy as we think. That is an explanation why parents with blue eyes can have a baby with dark eyes, even though it is pretty rare.
One more thing! The eye color can change. Actually, it is usual that toddlers’ eyes change their colors, sometimes even very significantly. Believe or not, up to 10% of people can expect that their eye-color will change before the legal age.
The story about hair color is different. Your child will be a strange combination of genes which have been recombined through many generations. Commonly, dark hair is dominant and the light color is recessive. Besides, 1-2% of people have fiery red hair. But, hair of your baby can be in all possible range of shades of hair color of her parents. The only condition is that both parents carry at least one gene associated with the same hair color.
All in all, the amount of pigment Eumelanin in your genes will determine the color of your baby’s hair. If she gets large amounts of Eumelanin, her hair will be dark. With fewer amounts of this pigment, your baby’s hair will become light.
If baby’s parents have the same hair color, a baby’s hair can be the same or similar. But, if dark-haired parents have a blonde recessive gene, it’s possible that baby will be born with light-colored hair. Red hair is between those two. It is recessive in relation to brown but dominant over blond hair. Moreover, red hair is controlled by a single gene which will get your baby light skin and freckles.
A similar situation is with skin color. It’s an inherited characteristic determined by multiple genes. The skin will be darker with a higher level of pigment Melanin. This pigment is a reason why mixed-race children have skin color like coffee, which is a color between their parents’ skin color.
According to the fact that genetics is more complicated, some of those children can have darker or brighter shades of the skin. But, even though the lighter skin is recessive, skin color will inherit pretty random.
Facial and Body Features
Many physical features are inherited as dominant. It is enough if only one parent has a particular feature and to transfer it through the gene to the child. As dominant features, your baby will inherit rolling tongue, freckles, toenail shape, cowlick, cleft chin, crooked teeth, dimples, earlobe, and more. Even the shape of her hands, and fingers, as well as fingerprints, are unique and genetically determined.
All of those features are filtered down through the generations and inherit in every family in a specific way. If you want to predict what facial features your baby will inherit, you should look at the family photos. The most family members have one of those features because they are inherited dominantly. You can expect that some characteristics of your ancestors can be passed on to your newborn. It is known the way of transferring the genes, but no one knows how these features are blended.
The same thing is with the behavior of your baby, including physical characteristic or the way your child stands or walks. Some experts believe that children unconsciously mimic their parents and develop many similarities which are not genetically inherited. Well, I believe that the book could be written about that topic. For example, how to explain the way adopted children sit or write. It is usually the same way they biological parents sit or write.
Height and Weight
To determine future baby’s height, there is a rule to take the parents’ average height. After that, you should subtract about 5cm for a girl, and add about 5cm for a boy. There is usually no surprise. Two tall parents will tend to have tall children and the opposite. Also, the heavier parents will have heavier kids because the increased weight is caused by one particular gene of each parent. But, it seems that this baby’s trait more depends on mother’s weight.
Keep in mind that height and weight are polygenic features and factors such as good or poor nutrition, health or exercise have a big influence on them. About 30% of your baby’s condition will be based on these traits.
But don’t forget about your lifestyle choices. The way your child eats or the amount and quality of food she eats will play a significant role on this issue. Genes make predisposition for this trait. Children can become obese because of a combination of genes and the family’s eating habits equally.
When we talk about baby’s future personality, be aware that many personality tendencies are genetically predisposed. But, the environment will have a huge influence on your child’s behavior. Your baby may show a tendency toward some type of behavior, both bad and good. Parents should encourage positive behavior and should try to reduce the unacceptable one.
For instance, a child who genetically inherits creativity will develop this trait to the maximum in an encouraging environment. But, if there is no parent support, or if you don’t offer your child a musical instrument or art material, she will waist all her talent. In opposite cases, an untalented child will, through hard work, learn to paint or to play. But, unfortunately, without inherited talent, no one can become Van Gogh or Mozart.
Some experts believe that around 40% of personality traits are from inherited genes. The rest depends on environmental factors, including life experiences and cultural influences.
It would be easy if smart parents would give birth to smart kids and handsome parents had only handsome babies. But it is not a rule. Sometimes parents with average IQ encourage their children to learn more. If parents read them a lot of books when they are toddlers and if they teach them to love reading and studying, children will develop a positive attitude toward learning and books. In the opposite, no matter how much the child inherited good genes if parents neglect their child, her good qualities will not be adequately manifested.
The same thing is with musical giftedness, with a talent for drawing or for dancing for example. If you don’t give your child the opportunity to develop these talents by the age of six, they will probably be lost forever. When they grow up, these people will sing at parties better than others or will draw nice, but that’s all. They will never achieve their maximum.
Of course, dancing or violin lessons will not make a great dancer or violinist of the child which parents are completely tone-deaf or have ‘two left legs’. Genes are inexorable and give us limits that we cannot overcome. I should say one more thing. It is proved that there are no sports-specific genes. Only individual factors affect the child to prefer Athletics or Rugby.
It is hard to predict if the child will look like one or another parent. In today’s world, almost 70% of people believe that their children look like a father. Of course that it can’t be true, but it is the sole consolation for the fathers. After all, mothers give a birth to babies, and they are part of their body. That obviously has to be enough. Or at least fathers believe in that.