Science/Tech

Dominant And Recessive Genes: You May Be Surprised To Learn Which Traits Are Dominant And Which Are Recessive

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Traits, such as your height, are either dominant or recessive. Photo courtesty of screenshot/YouTube

Genes are the tiny pieces of molecular information that determine who we are. They are responsible for everything, from your curly or straight hair to whether or not you will develop certain health conditions later in life.

There are two types of genetic traits: dominant and recessive. When combined together in an offspring, the dominant trait will always be expressed over the recessive trait. For the most part, this is a good thing. For example, traits such as immunity to poison ivy, normal eyesight and hearing, and normal blood clotting abilities are all expressions of dominant genes. Traits such as albinism, hemophilia, deafness, and poor eyesight are all less desirable recessive traits.  For the most part, however, these traits make no difference other than changing how an individual looks.

Buzzfeed recently created video urging viewers to guess which traits are dominant and which are recessive and have overturned the common misconception that dominant traits are always the most common traits. For example, the gene for having an extra finger is actually dominant, while the gene for having a tall stature is a recessive trait. If you happen to be a hairy person, you can guarantee that your children will also inherit this particularly fuzzy trait because it’s caused by a dominant gene.

The ability to sing well is recessive so you may be able to pass it on to your children even if you can't hold a note yourself. Other more obscure dominant traits are the ability to roll your tongue and a tendency to cross your left thumb over your right when folding your hands. To get the full list of dominant/recessive traits, check out the video below and see for yourself what kind of genes you carry.

Just because you don’t necessarily express a trait doesn’t mean you don’t carry it. Many times these genes will remain recessive for many generations before they have an opportunity to be expressed. 

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