20 Unexpected Things That Moms Pass On In Their DNA To Their Babies

When a baby is on the way, whether it is Mom's or a friend’s, they hope that it will take on the good qualities and features of both parents. If their partner has a large nose or prominent teeth, they might silently pray that the baby will take their genes instead of the dad’s in that department.

Similarly, if Mom has struggled at school and her partner is a biochemist, she might fervently wish that the baby will take after its dad in that regard. While it can be obvious from the physical features of children which bits they have taken from their mom or from dad, there are some more surprising things that moms can bestow on their little ones.

For example, if Mom struggles to parallel park, her child is likely to inherit this in their genes. Also, if an ancestor had a certain phobia, it might cascade down the generations and be manifested in their offspring.

Scientists are still grappling with the complexities of genetics and how genes influence children, and there are bound to be some more amazing discoveries in our lifetimes. 

20 The Chance Of Developing Certain Health Issues

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Moms pass on mitochondria to their babies in their DNA. The mitochondria is essentially the center of a cell and if these mitochondria are faulty, they can pass on genetic malfunctions, reports Romper.

Mitochondria are so vital for providing the essential functions in the body that a fault can be serious. A mitochondrial disease leads to a lack of energy for a cell or organ. Symptoms of a mitochondrial disorder are poor growth, and muscle weakness, amongst others. Moms are responsible for passing on all mitochondria to their babies, as mitochondria in the swimmers don't last after pregnancy occurs.

19 Issues With Insulin Levels 

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According to Medical News Today, if your mom has diabetes, her children are at a greater risk of having issues because of genetic material that is passed from mom to baby. However, there are many environmental factors that can contribute to diabetes, and if a diet is healthy and the baby grows up with a healthy lifestyle, he or she may escape the issue altogether.

What is for sure is that children of diabetic mothers have a higher tendency to contract the illness. This might not only be from genetic connections but also a diet that is high in fat and sugar, plus a more sedentary life could be learned by the child from the parent.

18 Birth Stats

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 Research has found that the mom’s diet and lifestyle when she was a baby and toddler, has a great impact on her baby’s birth stats.. Even her mother’s diet when expecting her has an impact on her grandchild’s birth stats.

It is not just the mother’s diet and lifestyle while she is pregnant that affects the unborn baby. Her genetic ancestry plays a huge part as well. Low birth lbs. are to be avoided wherever possible as it can lead to problems in later life such as high pressure, and cholesterol, according to The Guardian.

17 Allergies

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An allergy is defined as an abnormal reaction to something. Recently, there has been a great deal of controversy around what causes food allergies. Is it the environment, pollution or is it genetic? Scientists did some research involving identical twins and according to Serendip Studio, they discovered that with a peanut allergy, nearly 82 percent of the factors that cause the allergy were genetic.

Other allergies were investigated as well. In children with asthma, there was found to be a greater risk of the child having asthma if the mother was a carrier. If both parents had it, the risk was up to 60 percent.

16 How You Sneeze

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This is one of the more bizarre things that you may inherit from your mother or father says ABCNews. The phenomenon of sneezing when you encounter bright light, or photic sneezing, may be inherent in your DNA, scientists have found. So, if you find that you sneeze in bright sunshine, or when you go from a dark room to a light one, a tiny bit of your genetic makeup could be responsible.

Researchers have no idea why this genetic anomaly has evolved, but it can be traced to a single letter change on the second chromosome. If your mother has the gene, it is likely that you will join one of the 18-35 percent of people who are thought to be photic sneezers.

15 Chattiness

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According to Introvertdear, it has been discovered that there is in fact, an extrovert gene. So, if you have a chatty, outgoing mom, chances are that you will also inherit that trait, providing that the genes from your father don’t smother it of course!

Our emotional and behavioral traits are closely linked to DNA, and while environmental and ‘nurture’ factors are important, if your mom or parents are loud and outgoing, the chance is that a child will pick up on that behavior and adopt it as normal. Much of a child’s personality is as a result of DNA, how they use it is up to the individual.

14 Intelligence

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According to Scientific American, differences in intelligence are definitely a result of genes, so if your mom is a professor, you have a hefty advantage in the IQ stakes. That being said, genes only account for about half the factors that make someone intelligent, so even if you don’t have a boffin mom, you still have a great chance of being clever.

The genetic proportion of our intelligence seems to develop over time according to stimulation and experience, so even if your baby doesn’t start off with obvious genius, over time that may develop if it has the right genetic structure.

13 Hand/Eye Coordination

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This is another of those strange abilities that seem to be passed from mom to baby. It refers to the information received by the eye and the brain’s ability to process what it receives into an action. It is most often referred to in sporting activities such as being able to catch a ball or perform other fine motor skills.

The ability to process the information received by the eye and direct the body to cooperate is a genetic trait that a mom can pass on, or not, to her baby. Of course, the dad has an influence too, so if you were a total flop on the sports field, don’t despair, you may have an Olympic athlete after all.

12 Metabolism And Figure

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Scientists have found that DNA plays a large part in predicting the future figures of children. Genes can alter the way the brain processes food, what it searches for and how full it makes the stomach feel. This can all be passed on to the unborn baby by its mother according to research.

It isn’t all down to metabolism as was previously thought, but to the way, the brain reacts and responds to hunger signals and to which foodstuffs to choose, according to The Daily Mail. Therefore, whether a child is destined for struggles in this department could be determined before it is born, as at least a fifth of the differences in people’s stats comes from genes.

11 Musical Ability

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It has been proven that a propensity for certain talents is passed on in the DNA, so if your mom is especially musical or has amazing rhythm, the DNA is there in the child. However, this is not the whole story. If that talent is never developed or the child has little interest in that field, the DNA remains, latent and useless, says Key-notes.

As with much of the DNA we inherit from our moms, it is there like a menu. If we choose to pick those items to focus on we will see the commonality with our parents, if we don’t because we have little interest, then the correlation will not be picked up.

10 Memories

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A mom can pass down memories of her ancestors to her children through DNA, doctors have found. It was previously thought that memories were as a result of life experiences of the individual and that no memory could be passed down from the parents.

When testing mice, researchers at the University of Atlanta, found that mice who were inflicted with immense trauma and went on to have babies, passed on the trauma through their DNA. So, the experiences of a parent can be passed on to future generations by DNA in the nervous system, according to BBC. Although it is not known how the information is stored in the DNA of the trauma bearer, it does seem to be there and can be passed on.

9 Phobias

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In the same research that determined that memories can be passed on through DNA, scientists found that phobias can also be inherited from your mom as well says Telegraph. If a parent has an abnormal reaction to something, this can be passed on to the children.

It was tested in animals using smells that they associated with something bad happening. When the same smell was presented to the offspring, they reacted with stress and anxiety, as if the phobia of the irrational object had been inherited. The brains of the affected animals showed structural changes compared to those that had not had parents with the phobia.

8 Smell Preferences

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While scientists are yet trying to pinpoint exactly why this happens, it seems that their research shows that smell and taste preferences can be inherited from mothers. In tests on salty, sweet and Umami tastes, it was found that there was a strong correlation between mothers and children in terms of preference.

Seventeen genes were identified as those that influence the taste and smell preferences, but none of these had previously been associated with parts of the brain that influenced these areas, so more research needs to be done. If your mom loves that smelly blue cheese, don’t be surprised if you do too!


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Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a mental health condition that causes people to have obsessive thoughts that cause them to act out compulsive behaviors. Although there are many factors that can influence this debilitating condition, one of the strong influencers is genetic, says Healthyplace.

Scientists have pointed to a genetic link as it seems to run in families and if you have a baby that develops OCD, there is a high chance that any siblings will develop it too. Brain scans of those with OCD have shown defective pathways of communication that can be improved with serotonin-based medication or cognitive behavioral therapy, offering hope to those who are afflicted.

6 Risk Aversion

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Apparently, those who have a reckless streak and like to gamble with high stakes are genetically programmed to do so, says Theconversation. Similarly, those who are more cautious and prefer to keep risk to a minimum have that trait in their genes. If part of the brain called the amygdala has been harmed because of faulty DNA, the individual has less sense of danger when it comes to risk.

Those that have a healthy aversion to anything overtly risky have a healthy DNA structure in this area of the brain. So, if you are risk-averse, don’t be surprised if your baby pauses before putting fingers in that plug socket, it’s genetic!

5 Unattached Earlobes

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The gene responsible for free or unattached earlobes is believed to be caused by a dominant gene. So, if you have unattached earlobes, that part of your genetic structure will be passed on to your baby as the attached earlobe gene is believed to be recessive.

According to UTAH, Scientists argue this point, but until proven otherwise, it seems to be the case that the unattached earlobe is passed from mother to child. Exactly why this should be the case is unclear. There may be a whole host of other factors at play and of course, there are the occasional incidences of people who have one of each, but it seems to be a trait that occurs down generations of families.

4 Widow’s Peaks

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The widow’s peak is the formation of the hairline at the point of the upper forehead. Some people have a distinct V-shape to the hairline that is referred to as a widow’s peak, while others have a straight or curved hairline.

The gene that controls the widow’s peak is believed to be dominant, so if you have a widow’s peak hairline, it is likely that your children will too. However, according to UDEL, scientists are still unclear whether there is a direct link between widow’s peak and a gene, citing certain syndromes such as Aarskog-Scott that exhibit a widow’s peak as a more likely genetic cause.

3  Gapped Teeth

A diastema is a technical term for a gap or space between the two upper front teeth. One of the main causes of diastema is the size of the teeth and the size of the jawbone. Both these formations are passed on in the genes, so it is likely that a mom with a gap will have at least one child with a gap too says Gablesexceptionaldentistry.

Of course, there are environmental factors that can cause or worsen a diastema, such as a thumb sucking, which can push teeth further apart. An offset jawline can also be an inherited trait that can affect children, so if you have both a diastema and an offset jawline, be prepared for some orthodontist trips with some of your children.

2 Lactose Intolerance

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There is so much discussion today about food intolerances and allergies, and suspicions that environmental factors have conspired to increase the likelihood of children developing such aversions.

However, it is more than likely that your intolerance was passed on by your mom, or possibly your dad or any other family member, says NHS. There is a chance that one of your children may develop a lactose intolerance as well. One single gene is responsible for the ability to digest milk sugar or lactose. As babies need milk to survive, the body produces enzymes to facilitate this. If these enzymes disappear as the child grows they will develop an intolerance.

1 The Ability to Drive a Car

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Oh dear. This is a controversial subject, and any man who thinks that a woman can pass on the inability to drive a car will be rubbing his hands with glee! However, there are genes that are responsible for the core skills that are needed to learn how to drive and to retain that information.

If you have a faulty gene which is responsible for orientation, memory, and coordination it could be that you can learn how to pass a test and how to perform the basics, but you are never going to be a natural driver. The gene dictates the speed of reactions and also how distracted a person gets, which obviously puts them at greater risk of being involved in an accident.

Sources: Webmd, Express, Allprodad, Telegraph, Answers

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