If you're expecting a baby and wondering what he or she is going to look like, geneticists have some handy tips for narrowing down what traits they are likely to have.
As soon as parents discover that they are expecting a baby, their minds start to wander. All sorts of things will pop into their head such as how much raising a child is going to cost, whether they're going to have a boy or a girl, and what the little one might look like. A combination of the mom and the dad's best features, at least that's what we hope for.
While babies are made up of an equal amount of each parent, their genetic makeup isn't as simple as merely being half and half. If that were the case, all siblings would look identical. The 46 chromosomes that make up a new person are shuffled each time, so manifest in a different order with each child, explains Fatherly. That's a very basic explanation as to how brothers and sisters look similar but different.
What parents shouldn't be worried about is if their baby has different color eyes and hair to both of them. Scientists used to believe that certain eye colors were dominant over others, such as brown over blue. It has since been discovered that it isn't as simple as that. It is now believed that at least eight genes are involved in determining someone's eye color, and there's evidence of some of those genes overriding a baby having brown eyes in some cases.
Even more genes play a role in dictating hair color, more than 20. MC1R, which we have two copies of, is the main culprit. However, if one of the MC1R genes is deactivated, it will result in your little one having red hair. Freckles, dimples, earlobes, hairlines, male pattern baldness, and curly hair are other traits that parents can make educated guesses on depending on their own traits.
For the most part, most of your baby's defining traits when it comes to physical appearance can be predicted. However, until they arrive and start to grow, there is no way of knowing for definite. They could pick up some traits that haven't been seen in the family since their grandparents or even further back. Basically, if your baby doesn't share your exact physical makeup, don't panic or start pointing fingers.