That you really are the daughter of those two people who claim to be your parents is probably as plain as the nose on your face, the thickness of your hair, and the freckles on your back. But the family genes you inherited from your parents runs deeper than that. Recent research reveals that the way you think and act and who you are as a person has as much to do with the family genes hard-wired into your cells as it does with your upbringing and environment.
Scientists say that family genes account for 30–60% of what makes you tick. Shyness, creativity, the tendency to worry too much or overindulge too often, how much energy you have, how independent you feel, even what career you choose, may be to a large degree, based on family genes. If you can get your friends to go to the movie you choose, if meeting new people excites rather than intimidates you, chances are you have inherited the "extroversion gene" from either Mom or Dad.
Check out the way you spend money, how conservatively you dress, how optimistic you are generally. We bet you have a parent who agrees with your choices. It seems we enter the world predisposed to certain attitudes and behaviors, even down to trivial quirks of character. Part of the recipe of what makes you you comes with the package, premixed; the rest is blended in later.
Current research has given us these interesting tidbits. Do you fight with your father over that last piece of chocolate cake? A sweet tooth is one of the most common inherited preferences. Likewise, the reason you hate cauliflower and coconut may mean you inherited from family genes a deficiency in the enzyme that metabolizes these foods.
How ambitious and driven you are might be the positive result of you sharing the family genes of an impatient, competitive, workaholic parent. A Swedish study of twins, some raised together, some apart, indicates that Type A behavior tends to run in families. New research suggests that the family genes girls inherit from their fathers explain why they prefer the scent of some boys over others.
We tend to prefer the scents of males whose family genes are similar to our own, which is similar to dear old Dad! What a mother eats and what she doesn't has a huge influence on what her daughter eats. Not so with her father. It seems a mother's dietary habits influence whether her daughter will become a picky eater who shuns nutritious foods like vegetables.
If Mom is reluctant to try new foods, chances are her daughter will be a finicky eater, too. According to the results of twin and adoption studies, when adoptees grow up in the homes of lawyers and doctors, their performance in life has a 50-50 chance of being above average. The biological kids of those educated parents have an 80% chance of being above average. Ultimately our inborn temperament is responsible for how we get treated in life.
Although nature's thumbprint (family genes) dictates many of our behaviors, our environment also shapes us. It is the combination of the two that leads us to seek certain experiences and make our own destiny.