Is there anything more exciting than a baby on the way? With nine months to think about all the things a future child could be, it's no wonder parents love predicting what they'll look like, too. Will they have dad's curly hair, mom's green eyes, grandpa's smile, or aunt Layla's nose? We can always play the guessing game and have a little fun with it. But there also are some more concrete ways to make an informed prediction...
Science To The Rescue
You're never going to know exactly what your tiny munchkin will look like - where's the fun in that, anyway? But you can use a little bit of science to back up your prediction that they'll be born with your brown eyes, and not your partner's blue ones. Of course, it's not going to be 100 percent accurate, but it's much better than a random guess.
Which Genes Are Strongest?
Geneticists use the terms 'dominant' and 'recessive' to describe whether the gene in question is strong or weak. Dominant genes are considered stronger and the most likely to be taken on by the child. For example, dark skin is more dominant than fair skin, so with a mixed-race couple, the child is more likely to have dark skin.
Dominant Vs. Recessive
Other dominant genes besides dark skin include dark eyes, curly hair, dark hair, a big nose, big lips, and a wide chin. Recessive genes include blonde or red hair, straight hair, blue eyes, and left handedness. But it's not simply a matter of what can be seen on the surface. It gets a bit more complicated from here...
The Amazing Body
Just because you have curly hair and your partner has straight hair, it doesn't necessarily mean your child will take on the curly hair gene, even though it is dominant. For example, if one of your parents has straight hair, it means the gene for it still exists within you, so you could easily pass on that gene and not the curly hair gene to your baby.
Create A Family Tree
Off the top of your head, create a family tree to see which physical traits have been passed down through the generations. Take note of which genes are dominant or recessive and you'll start to get a better idea of what bub's chances are of inheriting grandma's sparkling blue eyes. It's a great game that may actually have some truth to it!
Fancy DNA Images
Scientists are now able to put together a pretty good idea of what an unborn child will look like, based on strands of DNA and bone structure. The child's ancestry also plays an important role in its eventual looks. Using all three of those elements, they've been able to come up with some pretty accurate computerized images.
Genes Can Skip Generations
Even if you and your partner both have blue eyes, there's a chance your child may inherit their grandpa's green eyes instead. If your father passed down that green eye gene to you, you then have it in your DNA to pass down to your child, even if you yourself don't have green eyes. It's amazing what the human body is capable of!
Eye Color Predictor
Using the chart below, which is based on the dominant vs. recessive science, you can get a pretty good picture of what color your child's eyes will be. You'll notice that even dominant combinations, such as two sets of brown eyes, still carry a small chance that the child will have green or blue eyes.
It's A Gene Party In There
Kate Garber, Director of Education in the Department of Human Genetics at Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, Georgia, says certain traits can come about due to a mix of genes. "Most traits are actually determined by many genes working together, rather than a single gene," she explained. That can also explain why you might look nothing like your parents!
Siblings Can Look Like Strangers
Some siblings look so similar they could be twins. But other siblings will look completely different from each other, proving that even if the two parents are the same, there's no real way to predict what your kid is going to look like! Though some siblings may not look alike, they generally have a few things in common, such as expressions and voice.
You'll find a whole bunch of these programs online. Simply upload a photo of yourself and your partner, and voila! It will spit out an image of what your baby might look like. Bear in mind that while these programs function on the basis that some genes are dominant and some are recessive, you shouldn't rely on them too much!
Ancestry Is Key
Start asking questions about your family tree and get your partner to do the same with their family. Finding out where you're from could hold be important key to what your baby is going to look like. Not only that, it may be helpful in establishing their future health and which types of diets and lifestyles will work best for them.
Okay, okay, we're kind of cheating with this one, but isn't technology cool? Now, you can see exactly what your baby looks like before you even give birth to it. These types of ultrasounds are usually a little more expensive than your regular old ones, but many parents find them to be more meaningful and a great insight to what they can expect.
Pull Out The Old Photo Albums
Chances are that when your baby is born, they're not really going to resemble a grown adult too much. The more likely scenario is that they'll look just like their aunt, sister, mom, or grandma when they were a baby. Rifle through some old albums and you'll start to make some pretty cool connections when it comes to family genes.
Height can be a tough one to predict - tall genes tend to be dominant, but what usually happens is that the child is a mix of both parents. A simple formula you can use is calculating the average height of the parents and then adding two inches for a boy or subtracting two inches for a girl. It's not a sure thing, but it's worth a shot!
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