Ever heard the phrase ‘you have your father’s eyes?’ Or ‘your son looks so much like you?’
Other than physical looks, there is a multitude of things that kids can gain from their paternal side. A father’s genes can determine what a child will inherit, from sure looks to diseases familiar to the family.
1. Heart Problems
All fathers carry a gene that can be passed on to their male children, which can increase their risk of a heart attack by a whopping 50%. This specific gene prevents the controlling of inflammation in the body, meaning that it’s much more common for arteries to clog and block blood flow to the heart.
Jen Stagg, a naturopathic doctor who specializes in guiding patients to a healthy lifestyle, of Leicester, performed a backup study, which discovered that men who carry the haplogroup I Y chromosome are fifty percent more likely to have heart disease, and therefore pass this disposition on to their sons.
This is in comparison to haplogroup R1b1b2 – those carrying this gene don’t have an increased risk of heart disease.
With over 700 gene sequences at play to determine a child’s height, it might be easier just to say that both the man and woman have a part in how tall their kid will be. These gene variants can make a significant difference; it can affect height by an entire inch, which is primary when you consider how much that can add or subtract from your height.
Sometimes, a rare variant in the gene sequence can drastically affect the child, swaying them towards their father’s height rather than their mother’s or a mix of the too. In this way, the man may have a slight effect on their child’s height.
3. Mental Health Problems
It is common knowledge that mental health issues may run in the family, but if you have an older father than most, you may be more predisposed to have specific mental health complaints. Commonly, older men with schizophrenia or ADHD are more likely to pass their issue to their children, due to changes in their DNA as they age.
Older men are four times more likely, therefore, to pass on mental health problems, as their sperm will contain their new and mutated DNA, leading to the possibility of more complex issues.
Why don’t mothers’ DNA change with age? The answer is, they do. The difference is that women’s eggs are with them from birth, and therefore don’t change. While men’s sperm is produced all the time, a woman has limited eggs, and they don’t alter much.
However, older women are more likely to birth children with autism, and rare issues with genetics.
4. Dental Complaints
If a father has a lot of issues with his teeth, it’s highly likely that his children will suffer the same. Everything to do with the mouth is down to genetics, including jaw and teeth size and shape.
Women can also pass down their teeth and jaw issues. However, men’s genes tend to be more dominant when it comes to dental health due to the gene affecting it being more active. If your father needed braces or suffered from extra wisdom, you’re likely to as well.
5. Eye Color
Eye color is a difficult one, since both the mother and father play roles in determining their child’s eye color. However, there are several indicators that the man may be more likely to decide the child’s eyeshade.
It is much more common for children to have dark eyes since it is the dominant gene. For a child to have light eyes is less frequent because it’s a recessive gene, and it requires influence from both sides of the family.
However, a dominant dark-eyed gene will win over the recessive gene in most instances. This means that if the father has dark colored eyes, it’s likely their child will also. Of course, this could just as quickly be the influence of the mother, but they tend to have equal input in the eye color lottery.
If a man is infertile, there are ways of getting around it. Men can take part in vitro fertilization to allow them to father a child, but if they do, they may still be making their sons more likely to be infertile.
In a study by the Journal of Human Reproduction, it was found that men who had been conceived through IVF treatment had a lower sperm count than those who had been conceived naturally.
This suggests that the fathers are passing on the fertilization issues to their children. Though the results aren’t entirely conclusive, it does show that it’s likely a father’s fertility problems can be handed down.
The father always determines the sex of the baby. Since men are in possession of both an X and a Y chromosome – women only have X’s – it depends whether both the X and Y chromosome are passed on. Men’s sperm carries just an X or a Y chromosome at a time, meaning that the sex depends on the dominant sperm.
It’s also thought that a man’s family tree can be used to gather information on whether their child will be a boy or a girl. Though it is only a guess, the guess is based on fact and often exhibits a pattern in genetic history.
Though nothing further is yet known, researchers are looking into an unknown gene that could be influencing how many X and Y chromosomes a man has in his sperm, which could make a particular gender more likely in each family.
If you have any concerns about your child’s genetic future, it might be worth consulting with a genetic counselor. They can help you determine if your child might be at risk of anything serious. This action can be performed if you have concerns about a child already born, or if you’re planning a pregnancy.
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About the Author: Hayley Anderton is a Creative Writing graduate from Liverpool. She’s a freelance writer and the self-published novelist of the LGBT YA book, Double Bluff. She doesn’t go anywhere without a notepad and has been writing ever since she can remember. Her other interests include baking, talking about politics and feminism, and snuggling up with her cat. She has dreams of traveling the world with her best friends, and of being a well-known author someday.