What did you inherit from your father? Good height? Healthy heart? Beautiful eyes? Every time a child is born, grandparents and relatives from both sides get in a competition about his/her features. “She has his mother’s eyes”, “He has got the family jawline”, so on and so forth.
Personally, I am blind to these similarities. Babies are squishy, red, delicate things that are to be handled with care. How can you compare that tiny face with that of a grown man and say yes, he looks like his father?
Anyway, the apparent facial features (or lack thereof) might be a contestable topic between the mother and the father, but there are some things that can only be inherited from the father.
Several traits are genetically transmitted from parents to offspring but there are certain things children only inherit from their fathers. The genes of the father have a lot to say on whether a child will inherit a certain history of family diseases or not and the likewise.
Here is a list of things which are always influenced by the paternal side of the family, without any exceptions.
This is perhaps one of the better-known facts, the gender of a baby is 100% contributed by dad. Females have the XX chromosome and will pass one X chromosome to the baby as this is the only kind they have. But males have one X and one Y chromosome. Depending on whether the sperm is carrying the X or the Y chromosome while fertilizing the egg, the child would be a girl or a boy respectively. Y is the male-determining gene and starts the masculinization or “virilization” process, that is fetal development of the testes indicating a baby boy. X chromosome doesn’t contain this male-producing gene, so having XX on fetus indicates baby girl.
So it all comes down to the father when it comes to the gender of the children because the dominant chromosome in his sperm makes up for the combination of the chromosomes which decide the gender.
2. Heart-Related Problems
There is a deadly gene that is always passed on from the father to the son – haplogroup I Y chromosome. Men with a Y chromosome from haplogroup I have a 50 percent higher risk of coronary artery disease than other men. According to researchers, this risk is independent of risk factors like high blood pressure, smoking, and high cholesterol.
It a never-ending debate whether a child has inherited his mother’s height or the father’s. Many people just assume that it is an average of the two. More than 700 genetic variations contribute to the height of the child. Although it is true that the height of the offspring is an outcome of gene sequences from both the parents, in some cases the father’s gene might have some variation which can greatly impact the child’s height.
Paternal genes strongly express insulin-like growth factor (IGF protein) and this genetic trait is also responsible for promoting growth. On the contrary, maternal genes express a receptor called IGF2R, which actively represses dad’s height-inducing genes. While a father’s IGF genes help a child to grow tall, Mom’s IGF2R genes make you grow short.
4. Mental Health Issues
Mental health problems are known to run in the family. But the chances of the child inheriting a mental disorder from his/her father increases greatly with the age of the father.
Suppose someone who’s older than the most at the time they became a father, is suffering from some mental health issue like schizophrenia or ADHD. Their DNA would have mutated with age and as a result, their sperm will be carrying this mutated DNA with these problems encrypted in it already. A vast literature on animal studies highlights that children of older fathers are at increased risk of mental health issues like autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, poor social functioning, bipolar disorder, and lesser intelligence.
As opposed to that, older mothers cannot pass on late acquired diseases to their children. This is because the sperms are being produced in men constantly, whereas the eggs are produced in a limited amount, in women. No change in the DNA at a later age can have an impact on the eggs, unlike the sperms. However, women who have pregnancy later in their life are prone to have children with autism or some other genetic disease.
5. Dental Problems
Do you know tooth size, shape, jaw size are all genetic? Several dental problems are hereditary and put children at higher risk of developing such conditions, if their father has dealt with it. This is because the male genes are a lot more dominant and active than the female’s when it comes to teeth, according to Jen Stagg, a naturopathic doctor specialized in helping patients make healthy choices based on their unique genetic makeups. This results in bad teeth or tooth decay from soft enamel.
Men, if you have bad teeth make sure your children start flossing at an early age!
5. Color Of The Eye
One of your parents might have beautiful hazel or blue eyes and you’d be stuck with dark brown. Sounds unfair, but that’s the reality for all of us. Eye color is said to be influenced by genes from both the parents, but in most cases, it has been found that the father is the one whose genes have more sway.
Both dominant and recessive genes play a role in determining eye color. Recessive genes contribute to light colors like green or blue, whereas, dominant genes contribute to dark eyes colors like brown. Although genes which cause dark-colored eyes are more dominant than the light-colored ones, if the father has a recessive eye color like green or grey or blue, the baby will inherit the eye color from him.
A study published in the journal Human Reproduction showed fathers with sperm issues pass on their infertility problems to their sons. The oldest group of men who conceived using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (a fertility treatment) were more likely to have low-quality sperm, just as their fathers did. On the contrary, men conceived without the assistance of fertility treatments had much higher sperm counts, which indicates that infertility in men is an inherited trait.
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- Begemann, M., Zirn, B., Santen, G., Wirthgen, E., Soellner, L., Büttel, H.M., Schweizer, R., van Workum, W., Binder, G. and Eggermann, T., 2015. Paternally inherited IGF2 mutation and growth restriction. New England Journal of Medicine, 373(4), pp.349-356.
- White, D. and Rabago-Smith, M., 2011. Genotype–phenotype associations and human eye color. Journal of human genetics, 56(1), pp.5-7.
- Townsend, G.C., Aldred, M.J. and Bartold, P.M., 1998. Genetic aspects of dental disorders. Australian Dental Journal, 43(4), pp.269-286.
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