The transfer of allergies from parent to child does happen, but it’s probably not in the way you think. Baby got all of her genes from her parents, right? Everything that decided her eye color, hair texture, earlobe shape, and everything else about her came from two people.
It’s true that many allergies have genetic links, but they’re not inherited the same way that things like eye color are. Passing down a certain combination of dominant and recessive alleles won’t give Baby an allergic gene. Instead, genetic disorders like allergies are caused when multiple genes interact, express, and react to environmental triggers.
Food allergies also have a genetic influence, but it’s unclear what exactly that influence is. The genes that pass down food allergies are the same genes that pass down atopy, which is the genetic tendency to develop allergies.
So Baby isn’t getting your peanut allergy specifically, but she might inherit your allergic ability…but she also might not. Genetics alone don’t really explain why so many people have allergies, and there are many environmental influences that come into play as well.
The bottom line
If you have allergies, there’s a chance that Baby has them as well. And if you don’t have allergies, it’s still possible that she has them. Children are more likely to have allergies than adults, so some allergies could be temporary, but there are also allergies that don’t develop until later in life. If you suspect that Baby has allergies, see your healthcare provider with a list of symptoms, family history, medications, and possible triggers.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Allergies.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. August 14, 2014. Web.
Borish, L. “Genetics of allergy and asthma.” Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. National Institutes of Health. May 1999. Web.
- Dreskin, S.C. “Genetics of food allergy.” Current Allergy Asthma Reports. National Institutes of Health. February 2006.