Mother’s Day is around the corner. What other way to celebrate than to acknowledge the amazing traits that are passed to us? Mothers spent most of our childhood nurturing and educating us about life, and building these traits in us even before our birth. These are the four traits that we inherited from our mothers.
Were you a cry baby or love throwing tantrums by rolling on the ground? Studies highlighted that genetic makeup could play a larger role in a child’s temperament as compared to the environment.
A study found that individuals carrying a specific type of allele are more likely to be angry than those without the allele. This gene is known as the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene.2 The study suggested that people with a low-functioning variant of this gene may have less self-control in aggression.
Mothers can influence our mood not only by nagging and grounding us but partly from what we inherit from them. A part of our brain known as the corticolimbic system controls emotional regulation. This system is also responsible for mood disorders such as depression, which is more likely to be passed down from mothers to daughters as compared to mothers to sons or fathers to children of any gender, following a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Hence, daughters partly inherit their moods from their mothers.1
Besides being our home tutors, our mothers also entail our achievements from a genetic point of view.
Our brain is a very complex organ so it requires more energy to work. Therefore, our brain has higher densities of mitochondria to supply energy to. As mitochondrial DNA comes exclusively from mothers, this means that our brain juice genes are largely composed of her genetics.
Next, the X chromosome is believed to carry genes that are responsible for intelligence and other social-cognitive skills. As mothers have two ‘X’ chromosomes whereas fathers have one, our mothers carry more of the intellectual genes. The sons’ intellect genes are more likely to come from the mothers who contributed the X chromosome while the daughters may get their intellectual genes from both parents. But maybe mothers will get a little more credit thanks to the mother’s mitochondrial contribution.1
Signs of aging
If we want to look young and radiant, our mothers may need to splurge on some sunscreen. Our mothers and their mitochondrial DNA may contribute to the children’s physical signs of aging.
Wrinkles and laugh lines are common signs of aging. Environmental exposures like the Sun, UV rays and free radicals affect our skin appearances. Unfortunately, if our mother’s skin cells are affected by these exposures, the DNAs in these skin cells may mutate and can be passed down to the children. Research shows that aging is determined by the build-up of damaged DNA that we experience in addition to the damage we acquired from our mothers. So, our baby skin is all thanks to our mother’s hard work in their skincare regime.3
In a nutshell, genetics may only provide a starting boost to these traits. Environment and how the children are brought up mostly influence them too. Nevertheless, we still have to thank our mothers for providing these good genes and all the nurturing lessons we have with them. Time to give them a pat on the back and a warm hug this Mother’s Day!
1. Anon. (2022). 5 Traits That Babies Get From Their Mother Only. SneakPeak. Accessed 29th April 2022 from https://sneakpeektest.com/blog/5-traits-that-babies-get-from-their-mother-only/.
2. Denson, T. (2014). Temper trap: the genetics of aggression and self-control. The Conversation. Accessed 5th May 2022 from https://theconversation.com/temper-trap-the-genetics-of-aggression-and-self-control-26110.
3. Weiss, J. (2022). 4 Traits Babies Inherit from Their Mother. Family Education. Accessed 29th April 2022 from https://www.familyeducation.com/pregnancy/traits-babies-inherit-from-their-mother.