Weird inheritance: what genetic traits can you pass on?

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It’s true that the apple doesn’t fall from the tree: due to your genes, your children will have a lot of the same physical characteristics that you do. However, you might be surprised to discover exactly which traits you might be passing on to the next generation.

We’d like to thank our partners at Recombine for sharing some of their expertise with us while creating this article. Recombine has developed of a number of genetic screening innovations, like their CarrierMap test, which is able to determine what genetic traits are present in you and your partner. This information can be invaluable if you are planning to start, or expand, your family.

You can request more information about CarrierMap by tapping here. Now, read on to discover some of the more interesting genetic traits that can be passed from parent to child.


Red hair and freckles are both linked to the same genetic mutation. The MC1R gene is what helps your body tan by creating melanin. In some people it doesn’t work properly, and instead of tanning, their skin develops small specks of tanned skin known as freckles!

Light sneezes

We don’t mean gentle sneezing. What we’re referring to here is the percent of the population that sneezes when exposed to suddenly bright light. If you’ve ever walked out of a movie theater and found yourself saying “achoo!”, it’s genetic! It means that your children or your parents just might do the same thing.

Wisdom teeth

Did you have to get your wisdom teeth taken out? If so, you’ll be jealous to hear that some people never get wisdom teeth at all. Their kids are likely to be lucky too, because wisdom teeth are a genetic variation.

Smelly pee

You may have heard that some people produce particularly smelly urine after eating asparagus. This is believed to be a genetic trait. Scientists suspect that there is also another, related genetic trait involving the ability to smell this same scent. That means you might have “asparagus pee” and not even know it! It’s neat to think that the way your body processes food, and even your senses like taste and smell, can be affected by your parents’ traits.


A person develops an allergic reaction by coming into contact with certain triggers, like a specific food or pollen. However, the tendency to develop those allergies is inherited. If your partner has any of the same allergies you do, there’s a decent chance you’re going to have a sniffly household come allergy season!


Colorblindness is more often found in men than women, as the allele (genetic sequence) responsible is found on the X chromosome. Women have two X chromosomes, so if the trait for colorblindness was passed on by only one parent, they’ll still have one normal X chromosome to code for sight. Men aren’t so lucky with only one X chromosome, so they are more likely to be colorblind.

Genetic disorders

Sorry to spoil the fun, but this one is rather serious. Even if you don’t suffer from a genetic disease, you could be a carrier, which means it’s possible for your child to inherit a genetic disease from you.

Talk to your healthcare provider about CarrierMap, which can test your carrier status for over 250 different genetic diseases. We always encourage you to be as informed as possible, and Recombine gives you the tools to make important health decisions for your family. Tap the button below to request more information.

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