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Genes Affect Our Food, Political & Religious Choices

by Madonna Watts D'Souza

Genes Affect Our Food, Political & Religious Choices

December 30, 2020

A new study has revealed the extent of gene influences, which ranges from food preferences to happiness and even your views on religion and politics! ​

It’s in your genes– this is something we keep hearing from people around us or something we may even tell ourselves when we try to do, eat, or choose something of our preferences. But for many, these preferences go beyond the nominal influential barrier. We now know that genetics have control over your political as well as your religious views! Seems shocking? Well, it certainly is, but this genetic control also leads us to the question- do we have control over our body and mind, or do our mind and body have power over us?

How Our Genetics Control Us

The DNA sequence of 3.2 billion nitrogen bases is entirely different for each person. This microscopic element is indeed the blueprint for every human. However, this blueprint also forms the base of many preferences we have in our lives so far. Genes play a huge role in our lives, even beyond the biological barriers.

The blueprint also indicates that a considerable chunk of our behaviour today has roots literally from the genetics present in the tiny cells in our bodies. Research has even demonstrated that apart from physical characteristics, our genes additionally influence our tendencies to have poor mental health, intelligence, lifespan impulsivity, and even our ability to be happy and satisfied in our lives.

Conditions like ADHD and Autism spectrum dysfunction are influenced by genes too. However, situations like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder can stay dormant within someone for years. Thanks to hereditary genes, this may either show up in an individual in later years or can never come to the surface too! It all depends on your genes.

Genetics Influence General Behaviour

As researchers understand our brains’ complexity, the genes causing the several interesting wirings in our minds now help scientists understand our predisposition to prefer a religion or the way we form our political views. Genetics also play an essential role in how an individual chooses to associate with people and create friend groups for themselves.

However, your genetics may even pass down the interesting or traumatic moments of your life to your children and grandchildren. Maybe that deja vu you experienced could be an actual moment one of your ancestors lived in.

Epigenetics

The field of Epigenetics is a developing field of science that understands how sensitive genetics is to external stimuli’ influences. Although your DNA sequence may never change, Your external environment and behaviour can strongly affect the way your genes express themselves. So if you were always angry in your life, you would give birth to children who will be angry just like their parents.

However, the good news is that Epigenetics is reversible, so a change in environment and behaviour will alter the way your genes express themselves. So if you change your environment and lifestyle, chances are your genes will follow suit and change their expressions too!

Genetic Study On Mice

A study back in 2014 demonstrated the epigenetic changes in mice. Mice are ardent lovers of the sweet fragrance of cherries. Whenever they smelt the cherries, a pleasure zone in their brains lit up, and the mice started hunting around in search of the cherries. The researchers decided later to pair the fragrance with a mild electric shock. This taught the mice to act on the anticipation of getting shocked by freezing in places where cherries were smelt.

This new memory was passed down to their generations. The mice’s grandchildren were petrified of the smell of cherries. This led to scientists’ confusion that although any electric shocks never influenced the offsprings, they gained the fearful response from their grandparents, who were predisposed to the shocks. The grandfather’s sperm DNA altered its shape and engraved a biological blueprint into the hereditary genes.

You Can Still Defy Genetic Tendencies

Despite your genes playing an essential role in your life from every little choice and been in some mysterious deja vu episodes, does that mean you are can never go and explore the other way? Of course not! The scope of free-will isn’t quite limited by genes, and there is plenty of free space for you to explore and choose paths that you feel will suit you the best.

Learning anything new such as skills, languages, etc., cause new nerve connections and links in your brain. Practicing and revisiting the new skill will strengthen the relationship and form a new electrical circuit in your brain, becoming the brain’s new default pathway that ultimately includes your habit.

For this new year’s if you have a resolution such as exercising or reaching a specific body goal, you can finally train your brain to change its routes and form healthy habits. So, in 2021, take some good resolutions.

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