Traits You Didn’t Know You Inherited

Our genes are like books that store information and instructions for every single cell of our body. The phrase “it runs in the family” is one that has been around for quite some time, and it goes way beyond just our physical traits. Weird abilities like rolling your tongue or wiggling your ears are based on your genetic expression. Or even strange physical abnormalities like a longer second toe or bent pinky fingers. From an evolutionary perspective they’re pretty pointless but we still find them cool. Here are a couple of traits that you didn’t know you inherited.

1. Tone Deafness

That person singing so out of tune at the karaoke bar? Don’t laugh too hard at them, it’s not their fault. They’re simply unable to recognize and distinguish musical pieces because of their congenital amusia or tone deafness. It’s not something they can unlearn either because their brains are just wired differently. Nearly 4% of the population carry this condition and 70 to 80 percent of people inherited it from their parents. And the funniest part is that they really do believe they’re hitting all the notes!

2. Tongue rolling

Can you curl your tongue into a tube? If the answer’s yes, then congrats, you’re like two thirds of the population who can do the same. As for the one third who are cursed with flat tongues? Turns out that they didn’t inherit the Mendelian trait from either one of their parents. Luckily for non-tongue rollers, genetics isn’t the end-all be-all when it comes to this skill. After a month-long practice session involving 33 participants, only one person successfully managed to roll their tongue. Okay it’s not much, but it’s proof that it can be learned!

3. Hairy knuckles

Some people are really shaggy and grow hair in the oddest places such as on their knuckles. The unwanted hairs often appear on the fourth or ring finger, but never on the thumbs. And if you’re Caucasian, then there’s a higher chance of you having hair on your knuckles. According to researchers, one possible explanation is due to prenatal exposure to androgens, a hormone related to the development of male characteristics. The trait for knuckle hairs is a dominant one, meaning one of your parents needs to have the gene.

4. A Long Second Toe

Having a long second toe is actually an inherited condition known as “Morton’s toe” which was named after an orthopedic surgeon. He believed that this was a throwback to a pre-human era when ape-like ancestors used a “grasping toe”. Between 3 and 20 percent of the population have this condition and in some cases, even the third toe is abnormally elongated. If you have this condition, then you share something in common with the Statue of Liberty who also boasts a Morton’s toe!

5. A Bent Pinky Finger

While we’re on the topic of unusually shaped phalanges, some people have pinky fingers that stand out from the rest – they tend to bow inwards towards the other fingers. If that’s you, then there’s a 50% chance that one of your parents sport a crooked pinky as well. And if you have children then there’s also a 50% chance of passing on this trait to them. A bent pinky isn’t always due to genetics though, diseases or injury could do the same thing. If you’re not a fan of it, then corrective surgery is always an option!

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