• Human Body

15 Fascinating Genetic Traits Most People Don't Realize Are Actually Inherited

We're talking about things passed down from your ancestors here, not that five bucks you found in your jeans last week. Thanks to your genes, there are all sorts of things you are genetically predisposed in favor of or against. From what age you lose your virginity to whether or not you like certain foods, genes play a huge role in who you are.

Genes aren't just about your parents, either. All of your ancestral heritage can play a role in how your genes come out. From your great-grandparents to that estranged aunt, all of your blood relatives have theoretically played a part in your genetic makeup. Of course, when it comes down to it, mom and dad are the two biggest contributors.

That could be a great thing if you have to highly athletic or intellectually gifted parents, but it also means you can inherit your parents' genetic flaws. All kinds of diseases, syndromes, illnesses, and more are passed down through your genes. Sometimes you'll get lucky and avoid them, other times not.

The fact is, science is still unclear on exactly what genes control. There is a lot known about genes and genetic makeup, but there are still plenty of unknowns as well.

For now, enjoy this list of weird traits you inherited thanks to your genes.
  • Your Musical Ability or Lack Thereof

    Photo: Sumayyah A / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    If you have no musical talent whatsoever, you may be able to blame your parents. On the flipside, if you're musically gifted, you may owe them a big thank you. Several different genetic traits can affect your ability to sing or play an instrument. One of the most notable is acute hearing, which can allow certain people to hear notes better that others, kind of like the opposite of being tone deaf.
  • Your Love or HATE for Cilantro

    Photo: Michael Lehet / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0
    Some people are shocked to find out that many individuals are repulsed by the smell of cilantro. It turns out, certain people are genetically predisposed to find a specific chemical in cilantro repulsive. Luckily for those who love the taste but can't bear the smell, crushing cilantro leaves often eliminates the odor while the food retains its taste. 
  • Your Picky Eating Habits

    Photo: Logan Ingalls / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    If you're a picky eater, it might not be all your fault. A certain gene that is responsible for taste receptors may be to blame instead. The taste receptors related to this gene can be especially sensitive to bitter foods as well as to sweet ones. While it's not exactly a "sweet tooth" gene, it might be as close as you're going to get to a scientific excuse to eat all of those cookies.
  • Your Taste for Bitter Things

    Video: YouTube
    When it comes to bitter things, some people are just more susceptible to the taste than others. People who have certain genes are even known as "supertasters" because of their powerful taste buds. Genetic links related to taste were discovered over 80 years ago when two scientists discovered that they did not agree on whether or not a certain chemical tasted bitter. After having friends and family also disagree, they eventually discovered the genes underlying the discrepancies.