7 Unpopular Opinions That May Be Rooted In Your Genes
Everyone has their share of unpopular opinions. For instance, some people hate Harry Potter, while others don't understand why avocados continue to be a thing. Interestingly enough, there are some unpopular opinions that are influenced by your genetics. If you ever wondered why you've never been a dog person or why you're not into traveling as much as everyone else is, you have your DNA to thank for that.
“Genes can certainly influence your lifestyle choices and habits," Olga Sazonova, PhD, product scientist at 23andMe, tells Bustle. "You genetics influences your wake-up time, caffeine consumption [...] mosquito bite frequency, ability to match a musical pitch, and motion sickness, to name a few."
It's no surprise to find that your genes can determine certain traits like your hair or eye color. Your genes can also say if you're prone to addiction or other illnesses. But your genetic make-up can be linked to some totally unexpected things like a fear of public speaking or a fear of heights.
According to Sazonova, there are many genetic variants and environmental factors that can influence the choices you make in your life. Here are some unpopular opinions on lifestyle-related choices and habits that may actually rooted in your genes.
1. Not Liking Naps
If you're someone who loves taking naps, it's hard to imagine why anyone wouldn't want one. After all, a quick nap can make you more productive, it can improve your creativity, and it can help to lower your stress levels. But according to a 2019 study published in the journal Current Biology, some people actually have a "siesta-suppresing gene." According to researchers, some animals have a day-wake gene that suppresses the urge to nap while promoting productivity on cooler days. While humans don't have this specific gene, a 2014 study published in the journal Sleep found that some people do have a "short sleeper" gene. People with this gene variant can run on just six hours of sleep each night, which research has found is just as bad as having no sleep at all for the average person. However, those with the short sleeper gene can go about their day without needing a midday nap or afternoon pick-me-up to stay alert and productive.
2. Thinking Cilantro Tastes Like Soap
Cilantro is an herb that's added in a lot of different things like salsa, rice, pasta, and soup. For some, adding a bit of cilantro can make anything taste better. For others, not so much. According to a 23andMe study, genetics can influence whether a person hates cilantro. In fact, the study found that 13 percent of research participants actually say cilantro tastes "soapy." There are a couple of variants near genes that deal with a person's sense of smell. This allows some people to detect aldehydes, which is a compound found in soap and a major component of cilantro's aroma. A 2012 study published in the journal Flavour found less people disliked cilantro in cultures where the herb was used more frequently.
3. Not Liking Dogs
Numerous studies over the years have found that owning a dog can make you seem more attractive. But not everyone's into dogs. According to research, a person's genetic make-up may have something to do with it. A 2019 study published in Scientific Reports found that making the choice to be a dog owner is heavily influenced by your genes. Researches studied thousands of pairs of identical and non-identical twins. Identical twins share an entire genome, while non-identical twins share about half of the genetic variation. As they found, there were higher rates of dog ownership in the pairs of identical twins than the non-identical ones. So this led them to conclude that genes do play a role in it. More research needs to be done to determine which specific genes are involved, though.
4. Not Having A Sense Of Adventure
Spend just 10 minutes going through any dating app and you'll find that every other person either loves traveling and going on adventures, or they're looking for someone to go on an adventure with. Whether or not that's actually true depends on the individual. But there is a gene that determines whether you're an adventure-seeker or not. "The DRD4, or adventure gene, codes for a dopamine receptor and people with a version of this gene are more likely to be impulsive and look for new and different activities," Dr. Vince Repaci, a professional development coach with a PhD in Genetics tells Bustle. "Being an adventurer might be in your genes."
5. Preferring To Stay Single Forever
Some people love being in relationships and can easily go from one long-term relationship to the next. Others may want a relationship eventually, but have no problem waiting until the right person or time comes. But then there are those who may be wired to stay single for life. "Research suggests that there is a gene (the 5-HT1A gene) that can influence whether or not you’re interested in relationships," Adina Mahalli, certified family care specialist and mental health consultant, tells Bustle. Individuals with a certain version of the gene found it more difficult to get close to others and were more likely to be single. "This means that some people might just be hard-wired to love the single life," Mahalli says.
6. Being Addicted To Tanning
A 2019 study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that a love of indoor tanning can be partly explained by genetics. Researchers did a study of nearly 300 women between the ages of 19 and 30, who said they went indoor tanning over the past year. Each participant was surveyed on their values and behaviors, and was also told to give a saliva sample in order to get their DNA analyzed. As researchers found, there is a specific gene mutation that makes indoor tanning much more addictive and rewarding for some people.
7. Not Liking Coffee, Tea, Or Sweets
Whether you prefer coffee over tea, or neither choice, is all in your genes. A 2019 study published in the journal, Human Molecular Genetics, found that your taste perception and preferences are heritable. Certain gene variations can determine whether you have a preference for sweet drinks like soda and juices, or bitter drinks like coffee, tea, and beer. Your genes can determine your drink of choice, as well as how much you need to consume in order to feel rewarded or satisfied.
Just because your genes can influence you, it doesn't mean you can't change your mind, adopt new habits, or be your own person. It's just fascinating to know how much our genes play a role in the choices we make in our lives.