Do Genetics Influence Success in Life?

If you were asked a simple question, “Do you think that genetics influence success in life?” You might be tempted to say that genetics have nothing to do with success of a person. However, a team of researchers from the U. K, New Zealand and the U.S has identified genetic variants that seem to control success in life. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their study and their findings.

To understand the role that genetics plays in giving a propensity for success, the scientists conducted a genome-wide association study. Using data from 5 population-based longitude studies carried out in the U.K., New Zealand and the U.K. they derived polygenic scores for more than 20,000 people. These scores were used to measure and compare the people against one another about success factors. The researchers used school, career achievement, and income as benchmarks for success.

The researchers found that polygenic scores was a useful benchmark—individuals with higher scores tended to succeed in life. Using such method allowed the scientists to get rid of social status as a factor. People with high polygenic scores had a tendency of doing better than their siblings or parents regardless of the social environment in which they were raised. The team also found that when comparing family member, those with the higher polygenic scores became more successful.



Genetics Could be Playing a Role in Your Feeling of Loneliness

People think that feeling of loneliness is driven purely by life experiences and surrounding environment, but the new study demonstrates that genes also pray a role. How often we want to socialize, or how lonely we feel could be partly determined by our genes– and that potentially provided new ways to fight health problems  associated with feelings of loneliness.

Using data collected from over 487,600 participants of the UK Biobank scheme, the scientists identified 15 regions associated with loneliness.

 The researchers also found that there a possible association between feeling lonely and obesity, suggesting that one might be driving the other. If similar genes control loneliness and overweight, the better approach is tackling them together.

According to the researchers, about 25 percent of people over the age of 65 in the UK feel lonely. Although loneliness has been linked to genetics previously, this is the first time scientists have been able to identify specific gene areas that appear to have an influence on how lonely we feel.

The researchers emphasize that many genetic and non-genetic factors may be involved, so one unconditionally can’t say that that your feelings are completely genetic or there exist a “loneliness gene.”


Genes Might be Responsible For Sleepless Nights

Researchers recently discovered that some type of genes may be the reason for sleepless nights and few psychiatric conditions. The University of California, along with VA San Diego Healthcare Center published a study that shows various factors that affects sleep.

The study resulted in a discovery of genetic traits that can be inherited from the parent and cause sleeping disorders. By conducting a gene-wide association study, also known as GWAS, DNA samples of over 33,000 soldiers were studied. The strong difference between the genome characteristics of Latino, European and African soldiers has shed light on the molecular origins of insomnia.

The differences between chromosomes are also linked to mental disorders, alcoholism, cardiac rhythm, and sleep. Insomnia is proven to be heritable. This deeper understanding opens the gates for specific research for insomnia cure and targeted therapeutic study for other gene-related diseases.


Genetic and Lifestyle Factors can Predispose you to Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes

New findings from the UK Biobank cohort study show that genetic and lifestyle factors can predispose you to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. According to the study, health behaviors and genetic factors have an effect on the risk of these diseases, but there are no interactions between these factors.

As recently reported in JAMA Cardiology, Pim van der Harst and his colleagues studied array-based genotyping profiles, self-reported medication use, income, disease history, and lifestyle factors from over 339,000 participants. They then looked at how lifestyle and genetic factors corresponded to the growth of atrial fibrillation (AF), coronary artery disease (CAD), hypertension, stroke and diabetes over about six years of follow up.

The researchers did not see specific relations between the lifestyle and genetic factors. Still there were cases where better lifestyle appeared to level the playing field to some extent between people from different genetic risk groups. The available data showed that, in particular, poor lifestyle can greatly increase the risk of disease development in people with enhanced genetic risk of diabetes or CVD.

Based on these findings from the new study, the researchers suggested that people should be encouraged to have healthy lifestyles


Scientists Identify 161 Genetic Factors for Myopia

Myopia, also referred to as near-sightedness or short-sightedness, is the most common disorder that affects the eyesight. For severely short-sighted people, the disease increases their risk of developing eyesight problems. The causes are both environmental and genetic.

The international research group CREAM has made significant progress towards understanding all the mechanisms that are behind the conditions development. They assessed the data of over 250,000 people from Asia, North America and Europe in collaboration with gene test provider 23andme.

The study identified 161 genetic factors for myopia and spherical equivalent, most of which were earlier unknown. It is now clear that all types of retinal cells play a role in myopia development alongside their main role as a light processor. The findings support the theory that the interior layer of the eye communicates with the outside layer to vary the eye length, which is a key factor in myopia development.

The spread of myopia is a worldwide phenomenon, especially in South East Asia. This is likely due to growing levels of education. Individuals who read a lot also carry out a lot of close-up work, ordinarily in poor levels of daylight. As result, adjustment of the eye becomes more lengthened than normal. If it becomes too elongated, the lens and cornea focus the image in front of the retina, making distant things appear unclear.


Our Blood Types Determine How Well Our Skin Ages

We can buy as many cosmetic skin care products as we want , but how well our skin ages depend on factors beyond your control—such as blood type. In fact, research has noted that blood type plays a vital role in your susceptibility to wrinkles.

In a recent study, researchers examined the skin of Korean women aged 66 to 84 years. Among the women who were examined, 29 had type A blood group, 31 with type O blood group, and 13 with type AB. The researchers measured the depth of wrinkle and elasticity around the women’s eyes. They found that individuals with a B blood type group produced less melanin, resulting in deeper wrinkle formation.

Having less production of melanin may result in less protection from sun exposure, thus leading to more wrinkles. However, according to dermatologist Libby Rhee, it is not just blood type that influences the propensity to develop wrinkles. Rather, the adjacent genes located next to or close to our blood type gene may influence our skin.

There are some things we can do to ensure our skin stay healthy over the years. Although we can’t change our blood type, we can protect our skin from premature aging by using sun protection, eating an antioxidant-rich and healthy-fat-filled diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, and enlisting a skin-care routine.


Three Deadly Genetic Diseases

Genetic diseases result from abnormalities on genes or chromosomes. Some ethnic groups are likely to develop some genetic diseases than others. However, according to the Genetic Disease Foundation, the diseases can occur in any group. The following are three genetic diseases that are very fatal:

Tay – Sachs disease

This condition is inherited metabolic disorder. According to, this genetic disease affects the Jewish population. People with Tay-Sachs do not have hexosaminidase A enzyme, without which fatty materials build up in cells, mostly in the brain nerve cells, causing damage. The disease is incurable, and death occurs between the ages of five to eight years old.

Niemann-Pick Disease (Type A)

This condition is actually a group of inherited conditions that involve the metabolic system. It causes large amounts of lipids or fatty material to accumulate on organs such as the lungs, brain, liver and spleen, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Affected individuals typically have profound brain damage and an enlarged liver. Typically, death occurs before 18 months of age.

Trisomy 18 and 13

Healthy people have pairs of chromosome. In Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13 disorder, there are 3 chromosomes or an additional chromosome on the thirteenth and eighteenth chromosome pairs. These genetic diseases cause many birth defects, as well as severe mental retardation. About 90 percent of children with these abnormalities die before the age of 1 year old.