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Journal : Files

Talents & Personality: How Genetics Intervene

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Understanding the connection between our genes and our environment



The genes we inherit from our ancestors play a major role not just in defining the color of our eyes or even our height but extend their impact and help shaping our talents, our personalities, as well as our behaviors. 

Understanding this connection between our genes and the environment we live in, opens doors to unlocking our full potential, allowing us to make informed choices and live a life that aligns with our unique predispositions, whether it's cultivating a hidden talent or tempering a tendency for certain behaviors.


Talent and Genetics
Talent and genetics are deeply connected, and our DNA plays a major part in defining our natural aptitudes and tendencies in a variety of fields, such as artistic creativity, intellectual capacity, and physical endurance. 


Figurative Creativity

Creativity, more specifically of a figurative nature, often results in original and imaginative visual expressions that transcend conventional ideas to reveal meaningful new forms.

According to recent studies, creativity has a strong genetic basis, with certain clusters of genes involved in brain plasticity having a significant impact on one's creative abilities. 

For example, the COMT gene is a key regulator of the dopamine transmission system and is implicated in the creative process. This gene's impact on dopamine levels in the brain is essential for regulating cognitive functions and creative thinking. 

These findings also suggest that the creative visualization skills may be not only a product of practice and repetition, but also a trait deeply rooted in our genetic code.


Intelligence and Maternal Breastfeeding

Maternal breastfeeding and intelligence have been the subject of scientific debate for some years now, with several reports suggesting that breastfeeding may have a positive influence on cognitive development. 

For example, the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT), a large-scale study investigating the benefits of breastfeeding on IQ, revealed that children who were breastfed in the WHO's Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative scored an average of 5.9 points higher on IQ tests.

 As such, the correlation between breastfeeding and increased IQ reinforces the nutritional and cognitive benefits of breast milk, backed up by genetic evidence such as the role of the FADS2 gene.



Longevity, or the length of an individual's life, is another dimension heavily affected by our genetic heritage. 

Certain genes are known to regulate the aging process and vulnerability to age-related diseases, thereby potentially influencing lifespan. For example, genes such as APOE and FOXO3A have been linked to longevity in many studies, most notably in their involvement in cardiovascular health. 

In fact, in a recent study of approximately 20,000 Nordic twins, 20-30% of the variation in lifespan was found to be explained by genetic factors, highlighting the complex relationship between genetics and lifestyle in determining longevity.


Spelling and Lecture Comprehension

Reading and writing skills, which are fundamental to learning and communication, are determined by a variety of educational, environmental, and genetic factors. 

Beyond that, recent genetic studies have revealed that these skills and abilities are heavily dependent on a number of genes. In fact, many of those genes are linked to different cognitive processes, such as phonological awareness, memory, and language processing skills, that are essential for developing reading and writing skills. 

For example, in the field of dyslexia research, several genes, including DYX1C1, KIAA0319, DCDC2, and ROBO1, have been shown to be involved in reading disabilities and, consequently, may influence reading and spelling abilities in the general population.

Studies involving twins and families have been central to revealing the genetic component of literacy, pointing to a strong influence of genetics. In fact, studies have shown that identical twins are more likely to have similar reading and writing skills than fraternal twins, further highlighting the genetic factors involved.  


Cognitive Ability in the Elderly

As we grow older, preserving good cognitive function becomes a concern for many. Genetics can have an impact on the risk of developing diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, which all affect cognitive health in the elderly. 

For example, in Alzheimer's disease, APOE has been identified as a major gene that has been correlated with an increased risk of developing the disease.

Parkinson's disease, on the other hand, has been linked to mutations in several genes, including LRRK2. 

And lastly, an NIH-led genetic study of Lewy body dementia has shown the genetic overlap with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, revealing that five genes (BIN1, TMEM175, SNCA, APOE, and GBA) may play a major role in predicting susceptibility to Lewy body dementia. This implies a possible shared genetic basis for these neurodegenerative diseases, which further points out the complexity of genetic influences on cognitive performance in the elderly.


Personality and Genetics

In the same way genetic factors have a significant impact on our talents and skills in areas such as creativity and cognition, they also have an important part to play in shaping our personalities and traits, such as impulsivity, neuroticism, seasonality, and others. This underlines how personality traits are not just the product of environmental factors; rather, we also have a genetic makeup that significantly influences the development of our individual personalities.



Impulsivity, or the tendency to act spontaneously without considering the consequences, can significantly affect one's life choices and interactions. 

Impulsivity has been attributed to mutations in specific genes (serotonin 2B receptor - HTR2B), such as those reported in a population of violent Finnish criminals, thus suggesting a neural foundation for this trait. 

These results can only be interpreted as suggesting a genetic basis for impulsivity and linking it to psychiatric disorders and violent behavior.



Neuroticism is a personality trait that influences emotional stability and has been linked to certain genetic factors. 

In fact, in a comprehensive study using data from the UK Biobank, 190 genes were identified as being linked to neuroticism, offering new understanding of the genetic foundations of this trait. 

This gene-based association analysis, including genes such as GRIK3 and KLHL2, highlights the complex relationship between genetics and personality and opens the door for further research into the biological basis of neuroticism and its potential correlation with psychiatric disorders.


Night Person

Being a night owl or a morning person isn't just a lifestyle choice; it's also genetically determined. 

Indeed, according to recent studies, a variant of the CRY1 gene affects circadian rhythms, making people with this variant more likely to stay awake later than most people. This genetic mutation causes the body's internal clock to slow down, extending the circadian cycle and leading to "night owl" behavior.



It is well known that seasonal changes can affect mood and energy levels, and this phenomenon is often attributed to genetics. 

One study identified the ZBTB20 gene as a potential contributor to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), supported by genetic, genomic, and biological evidence.


Addictive Behaviors and Genetics

Along with shaping our talents and personalities, genetics also play an important role in determining our tendency to develop addictive behaviors, and interact intimately with environmental factors to establish the likelihood of developing addictions to substances such as alcohol, cocaine, and opioids.


Alcohol Consumption/Dependence

Being addicted to alcohol is strongly influenced by genetics, with specific genetic markers increasing this risk. 

Indeed, the genetic profile of alcohol dependence involves a complex series of genes, particularly those encoding alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), such as ADH1A, ADH1B, ADH1C, and ADH4. These genes play a defining role in the metabolism of alcohol and influence a person's risk of developing alcohol dependence. 

This intricate genetic modulation highlights the biological foundations of alcohol addiction and implies that variability in an individual's response to alcohol may be a result of diversity in their genetic makeup.


Cocaine, Opium, and Marijuana Use

As with alcohol, there is also a genetic component to the use and dependence on substances such as cocaine, opium, and marijuana. 

Cocaine dependence has been linked to the CHRNA5 gene, known for its strong correlation with nicotine addiction. 

Genes such as OPRM1, encoding the mu-opioid receptor, have been widely explored for their role in opioid addiction. 

Last but no least, some identified genes, such as ANKFN1, INTS7, PI4K2B, CSMD1, CST7, ACSS1, and SCN9A, have been found to be associated with cannabis use, providing evidence for a genetic predisposition that influences individual responses to cannabis, including adverse psychiatric events such as paranoia.



Not only do our inherited genes play a major part in defining physical traits such as eye color and height, but they also stretch their impact to shape our talents, personalities, and behaviors. 

This intricate relationship between genetics and our non-physical traits reveals the fundamental influence of our DNA in determining who we are and what we can achieve.

 DNA tests are a powerful tool to guide this journey of self-discovery, providing insight into our genetic blueprint and empowering us to make informed decisions that fit our natural predispositions. 

Through this knowledge, we can unlock our full potential, nurture hidden talents, and live more fulfilling lives tailored to our unique genetic makeup.



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