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Genetic Influences on Behavior

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Genetic variations influence how a person’s behavior can be. Refer to this article for a detailed description.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Published At January 31, 2023
Reviewed AtApril 3, 2024


Social behavior is a human characteristic that gets influenced by a number of factors. These factors can be broadly classified into two categories; firstly, genetic factors and secondly, non-genetic factors. Genetic factors include the genes, which are chemical constituents of the human body and are inherited by the parents and non-genetic factors include the environmental influences on the social behavior of an individual. Researchers have proved that genes directly do not govern behavior or personality traits, but genes basically influence these traits. Hundreds of genes act together to influence a single personality trait. So, it is impossible to map a single gene responsible for a particular behavioral pattern in an individual.Therefore, by genetic mapping, the behavior pattern of an individual cannot be studied. At this point, the role of environmental factors and nutrition can be held responsible for influencing the behavior pattern of an individual.

What Is The Molecular Basis of Inheritance?

The molecular basis of inheritance comprises heredity, genes, and their variations. It explains the role of genetic materials like DNA in living beings. For a better understanding of medical genetics, conceptual knowledge about the molecular basis of inheritance is fundamental; Friedrich Meischer, in the year 1869, discovered DNA and named it nuclein. Later, in 1953 double helix structure of DNA was proposed by James Watson and Francis Crick. The basis of inheritance revolves around the following:

  • Chromosomes.

  • DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).

  • Genes.

Inside the nucleus of every cell, chromosomes are present, which are made up of DNA, and DNA organizes itself to form genes. Each cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes which mean 46 chromosomes. In certain genetic disorders, the number of chromosomes varies. We inherit one set of chromosomes from each parent, representing 23 chromosomes from the mother and 23 from the father.

What Is Meant by Inheritance?

A child inherits genes from both father and mother both. These genes code for traits (like hair color, height, etc.). Genes that code for traits from the parents are of two types, the first dominant and the other recessive. In the Indian subcontinent, black hair color is the dominant trait. So, for example, a gene for the father with black hair could be coded as BB (dominant) or BB (codes for black color), and genes for the mother with brown hair will be coded as BB (recessive). Now, the following could be the probable hair color of the child depending on the combination of the gene the child inherits.

  • BB- (black) 25 % of the children.

  • BB- (black) 50 % of the children.

  • BB- (brown) 25 % of the children.

So, the ratio between black and brown hair color is 3:1; hence 25 % of the children born could have brown hair. The above-mentioned inheritance pattern is based on the Mendelian rules.

What Is the Role of DNA in Human Genetics?

DNA serves the following actions:

  1. Replication.

  2. Transcription.

  3. Mutation.

Apart from DNA, the other genetic material is RNA (ribonucleic acid). RNA acts like the messenger of information, and unlike DNA, it cannot replicate itself.

  • Replication represents the ability of DNA to make copies.

  • Transcription describes the ability of DNA to transfer genetic information from DNA to RNA.

  • Whereas mutation represents the ability of DNA to alter the genetic structure, which leads to genetic variation. The DNA programs our appearance, behavior, and other unique personal features, resulting in a resemblance between parents and children.

The following sequential steps can explain the central dogma of molecular genetics:

  • The genetic information gets transferred from DNA to RNA.

  • The process that uses the information given by RNA to form protein.

  • The previously mentioned sequential steps produce all the unique characteristics that describe an individual. For example, if the DNA has to program for the height of an individual, then:

Firstly, DNA will collect all required sets of information about the size. Then, it will be transferred to the RNA by the process of transcription. After that, the mRNA (messenger RNA), which carries the information given by DNA, will transfer it to the RNA. This information will then be converted into a protein. These proteins, in the end, execute the DNA program and activate subsequent processes required for the development of the height of an individual. So, the primary genetic information is located inside the nuclear DNA, and a few small pieces of information are found in the mitochondrial DNA.

Why Do Identical Twins Have Different Behavior Patterns?

Researchers have come up with a concept that individuals who grow up in similar environments have similar behavioral patterns, but at the same point if these individuals are subjected to different conditions their behavior pattern gets differentiated from each other. Twins share a similar prenatal environment and their developmental conditions are also nearly similar. As they grow up they may share different peer groups and these peers are part of an unshared environment between the twins. So, as their immediate environment or in this case, their peers or friends are different, there is a high probability that these twins will have different or varied behavioral patterns.

What Is the Relation Between Parent- Child Relation and Genetics?

The characteristics of the parents and a child that are genetically influenced indirectly play an important role in a parent-child relationship. Researchers have found that in the majority of cases, the parents hold a warm and compassionate behavior towards the child but it is the child’s attitude or temperament that alters the parents' attitude towards them. The importance of the shared environment is highlighted by the researchers and these environmental factors influence the behavioral pattern.


Studies that work upon relating the genetic influence and environmental influences on behavior patterns and these factors control the social life of individuals. Inheritance determines the individual's characteristics, and DNA's ability to mutate is a platform for human evolution. Various researchers are currently studying the inheritance pattern, and this research work also focuses on locating the genes that help identify the cause of a particular disease. Genetic mapping is the latest advancement in the field of medical genetics.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is Brain Surgery a High-Risk Surgery?

There are various risks associated with brain surgery. Possible risks include problems with speech, muscle weakness, balance, vision, coordination, and other functions. These risks can last for a short period or may not go away. Other risks include coma, stroke, brain swelling, and infection in the brain.


What Are the Major Surgeries of the Brain?

A difficult surgical technique called a craniectomy involves cutting away a section of the skull to release pressure on the brain. Those with serious brain injuries who have substantial edema and bleeding that might cause brain compression and death often undergo the life-saving operation. The other major surgeries on the brain include:
- Biopsy.
- Deep brain stimulation.
- Neuroendoscopy.
- Posterior fossa decompression.


Which Surgery Has Most Complications?

Femur fracture reduction, hip arthroplasty, and coronary artery bypass had the greatest mortality in the first few months following surgery. In order to reduce pressure on the brain, a craniectomy involves the removal of a portion of the skull. Craniectomy still has hazards associated with this procedure, the biggest ones being infection, bleeding, and additional brain injury.


What Are High-Risk and Low-Risk Surgeries?

Different surgical procedures have other hazards. A low-risk surgery is one where the patient and surgical features taken together indicate a risk of problems of less than one percent. In contrast, a high-risk procedure suggests a risk of complications of more than one percent. Any intraperitoneal, intrathoracic, or suprainguinal vascular operation is often classified as high-risk. Endoscopic intervention, ophthalmologic operations, minimally invasive procedures, superficial treatments, and electroconvulsive therapy are low-risk surgeries. The risk category for all other operations is moderate.


What Surgery Requires Ten Hours?

Depending on the severity of the disease, cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy) is a complex process that takes eight to 14 hours on average. Patients often stay in a hospital after surgery for ten to 12 days. The team will coordinate with a visiting nurse, physical therapist, and occupational therapist as needed when a patient is released from the hospital.


How Long Does Brain Surgery Take?

Typically, brain surgery takes four to eight hours to make a full recovery. A patient may experience a mild headache after brain surgery. The problem usually depends on the type of surgery and the area where the tumor was located.


Why Is Water Not Allowed After Surgery?

Water is not allowed after brain surgery. This is done as a precaution. If there is excess water in the body during surgery, and thus it leads to pulmonary aspiration. It can block the airways and cause major infections such as pneumonia.


Who Should Avoid Surgery?

Age, smoking, obesity, and sleep apnea are a few health issues or behaviors that may raise the risk of difficulties. Certain health conditions might impact surgery and anesthesia risks.


What Is Female Surgery Called?

Gynecologic surgery is female surgery. It is the surgery of a woman's reproductive system, such as the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. These procedures are performed on the urinary bladder and urinary tract as well.


What Are the Safest Types of Surgeries?

LASIK is the safest type of surgery. LASIK has the highest patient satisfaction rate. Bariatric surgery has also been found to be the safest surgery to undergo in the hospital.


Which Day is Most Painful After Surgery?

Pain and swelling are most commonly seen on the second and third day after surgery. The pain gets better after two weeks. Mild itching and redness are common after surgery.


Which Surgery Requires a Six-Week Period for Healing?

Healing does not happen overnight. The body needs to recover and regain strength. Focusing too much on things like losing weight or returning to the old exercise routine may do more harm than good. One can resume all of the regular activities after a C-section, total hip replacement, total knee replacement, and coronary artery bypass graft after a typical healing period of six to eight weeks.


Can A Person Have Two Surgeries at the Same Time?

Many cosmetic surgeons perform surgery simultaneously if an individual is in good health. Most doctors preferred a six to eight-week waiting period between multiple surgeries. It is safe to do many surgeries simultaneously as long as the patient is healthy.


What Should Be Avoided Before Surgery?

At least eight hours before the scheduled procedure, refrain from eating or drinking anything. Use no tobacco products or chew gum. Do not wear jewelry or bring any valuables. Before surgery, remove any detachable teeth, and do not wear contact lenses or glasses.


What Surgery Has the Hardest Recovery?

According to research, orthopedic procedures, or those involving bones, are typically the most painful. But scientists also discovered that some simple operations or those categorized as keyhole or laparoscopic could result in severe discomfort. The surgeries that have the most challenging recovery include:
- Gallbladder removal.
- Liposuction.
- Bone marrow donation.
- Dental implants.
- Total hip replacement.
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Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar
Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)


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