We all love our grandmothers. They’re wonderful and fun – the ones who spoil us and secretly let us away with things we’d never get past our parents. The bond between a grandma and grandchild is a special one. As I write this, I’m marking the fourteenth year of my grandmother’s passing. And even though it’s been so long, and I miss her, the importance of the role she played in my life hasn’t faded – and it’s true, the role of a grandmother in your life is an inherit one, both emotionally and genetically. While some of us may share or have shared a stronger bond with our grandmothers than others, the bond that we share is something that won’t easily fade – it’s encoded in us at a genetic level. One study has shown that we inherit our maternal grandmother’s DNA, temperament, tastes, and even emotions!
Alejandro Jodorowsky, a Chilean essayist, has written a book called “Metagenealogy: Self-Discovery Through Psychomagic and the Family Tree” where he going into explanation of the genetic influence maternal grandmothers have on their grandchildren, as genes can skip generations, passing from grandparents directly to grandchildren.
According to Alejandro, the genes that you receive in your mothers’ womb are directly coming from your grandmothers. Out of all grandparents and relatives, your maternal grandmother is the one who’s most responsible for the inheritance gene. Genes don’t always get directly passed on to the next generation, but they can sometimes skip one. That’s why there’s the possibility that some kids may look more like their aunts, uncles, or grandparents, than their own mothers and fathers.
Children may not look like spitting images of their grandmother, but there will always be a marker of them – be it a mole, smile, eye color, mannerisms such as movement like walking. They sometimes also inherit their bone structure or muscles and in some cases even genetic diseases from their grandparents.
On average, we are about 25% of our DNA with our grandparents. Scientists at the University of Cambridge have published research correlating to the bond between the maternal grandmother and their grandchildren. According to their research, this connection happens because of the X-chromosome. Maternal grandmothers will pass 25% of their X-chromosomes to all their grandchildren, therefore allowing them to inherit her genes.
Paternal grandmothers only pass on their X-chromosomes to their granddaughters but not their grandsons. So while paternal grandmothers have a 50% X-relation to their granddaughters, they are 0% X-related to any grandsons. But don’t worry, this has nothing to do with closeness of relationship. The emotional relation is all forged in the time spent together, something that will always improve the essential bonds that tie families together regardless or genes or gender.
In addition, Jodorowsky shows that children can also inherit the emotional experiences of their maternal grandmothers. The emotions that a grandmother felt while pregnant with her daughter can be passed on to her future grandchildren, as such emotional information can be recorded in DNA and remain there, even if it skips a generation. This is something that I can definitely see, as my mother doesn’t seem to have inherited the same sharp wit that I shared with my late grandmother.
Writing this has been somewhat therapeutic to know that even when family is gone, they’re still very much with us – sometimes if that means living on within us through our shared DNA.
What traits do you share with your grandmother?