14 Common Dominant Genes in Humans That You Probably Have

Let's see who paid attention in science class. Most people know that our physical traits are determined by genes, and that our genetic material comes from our parents. Some genes are dominant, others recessive. Dominant genes are those most prominently displayed if present. Some of these dominant traits are prevalent enough to impact the physical makeup of humanity.

Conversely, dominant does not always mean common. There are times at which recessive genes are the norm. This list of dominant human genes focuses on dominant traits common in the majority of the population. Give it a look to see which of your genes are dominant and which recessive.

  • Right-Handedness
    Photo: West Point - The U.S. Military Academy / flickr / CC-BY 2.0


    Everyone knows being right handed is kind of the norm. If you doubt that, think about how hard it was to get left-handed scissors in kindergarten. A whopping 70 to 90% of people are right handed, all because right-handedness is a seriously dominant gene. High five, righties!

  • Dark Hair
    Photo: modenadude / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Dark Hair

    The vast majority of people in the world have black or brown hair. These colors are genetically dominant to all other hair shades. More than half the US population has brown or black hair; in certain races and ethnicities, as much as 98% of people have dark hair. 

  • Ability To Taste PTC
    Photo: jslander / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Ability To Taste PTC

    Phenylthiocarbamide, or PTC, is an organic sulfur compound rarely found outside laboratories. In 1931, American chemist Arthur Fox discovered that some people taste the extremely bitter PTC, and others don't.

    Various studies conducted worldwide show that the ability to taste PTC is a dominant trait. As many as 75% of Americans can taste PTC; in indigenous American populations, that number is as high as 98%. While this sounds like a relatively innocuous genetic trait, the ability to taste PTC is correlated to the ability to taste bitter things in general.

    Many bitter things are also toxic, meaning the ability to taste PTC may be a dominant trait because those without the trait died eating toxins they couldn't taste.

  • Brown Eyes

    Did you know that one eye color dominates the rest to a startling degree? More than 55% of the global population has brown eyes. That means brown eyes account for more of the population than the other five colors - hazel, blue, green, silver, and amber - combined. 

  • Free Ear Lobe
    Photo: massdistraction / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Free Ear Lobe

    Maybe you've heard this before. High school science class, perhaps? If you look at earlobes, you'll notice some are joined directly to the side of the head, while others swing free. These free ear lobes come from dominant genes, and are vastly more common than their attached counterparts.

    While no definitive global study exists, it's estimated that more than two thirds of the human population has free earlobes. In some countries and cultures, however, the split is more like 50/50.

  • Long Eyelashes

    Long lashes sure are lovely. They're also a dominant trait. Studies show that in many races and ethnicities, including Caucasian and Japanese, long eyelashes are definitely the majority