5 Genetic Discoveries in 2013

Would you rather sit around
watching D News videos all day instead of exercising? Well, if so, scientific
research suggests that your genes
might be to blame. Hi, I’m Cristen Conger, of Stuff
Mom Never Told You, for D News. And in 2013, research on genes–
or the cellular instruction manuals we inherit
from our parents– offered some
fascinating insights into how those nifty DNA
packages may influence our daily habits and behaviors. For starters, researchers out
of the University of Missouri pinpointed a set
of 36 genes that might determine how much or
little we love to exercise. After noticing how some
lab rats voluntarily jogged on their
wheels while others took it easy inside their
cages, the researchers bred 10 generations of the
active and not-so-active rats, and found that the physical
activity gap persisted between those groups of great,
great, great, and so forth rat grandchildren. And the most
noticeable difference between those two groups–
those 36 laziness genes. Now in the future,
though, we might have a work-around those
so-called laziness genes thanks to PLIN2, better
known as the obesity gene. A promising study published
in early 2013 detailed how turning off that PLIN2
genetic expression halted weight gain, and increased
activity levels in rats, even when they were being
that high fat diets. Next up, scientists
plan to figure out the physiological mechanisms
behind that obesity gene, and how it might work in humans. Now recent digging into our DNA
has revealed not only insights into our physical health, but
also our emotional health. For the first time, in 2013,
researchers from UC Berkeley and Northwestern University
identified a gene variant, or allele, that
appeared to mediate husbands’ and wives’ emotional
sensitivity to relationship ups and downs. Specifically, the people who
inherited two short versions of this marital
bliss gene tended to report more relationship
highs and lows, whereas those with long versions of the
genes were more even keeled over the long term. Now undoubtedly, some
couples with kids may experience more
emotional highs than lows due to a newly
discovered gene that triggers early, or
precocious, puberty. According to a 2013 study
published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a
genetic mutation passed along by fathers may cause
reproductive hormones to activate in kids younger
than nine years old, which can lead to health
complications later in life, not to mention a prolonged period
of hormone-related adolescent angst. And finally, as
a rare south paw, I was interested to learn about
a possible genetic explanation for handedness. It turns out that right
handedness, at least, may root back to embryonic
genes that organize our organs, and help our bodies
develop symmetrically. But unfortunately, we’ll
have to wait until 2014 or later to get to the
bottom of why some of us go left instead of right. But enough about
me, what about you? What kinds of DNA
discoveries are you hoping to see in the future? Tell me in the comments below,
and be sure to check out my channel–
youtube.com/stuffmomnevertoldyou– and be sure to subscribe
here for more D News.

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