It has been proven over and over again that genetics play a part in a person’s life, and genetic diversity might be the strongest, surest way to ensure a taller height, better cognitive abilities and larger lung capacity. Genetics can make a difference and a study has revealed that diversity could be the key for taller and smarter offspring.
There have been many studies proving how children born to closely related parents hold greater risk for genetic defects or certain disorders caused by inheriting genetic mutations. Now, a study has also linked genetic diversity to more advantages in regards to genetic traits. Four factors seem to be affected, cognitive abilities, height, lung capacity and potential for academic achievements.
The researchers gathered over 350,000 individuals from four continents, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, all from diverse backgrounds and areas. They studied 110 papers on genetics already published. This makes it one of the largest studies ever made on the topic of genetic diversity and they have the results to show for it.
The scientists compiled genetic information from all 102 groups of people to examine and compare their findings. Interestingly, cases of homozygosity, where the child obtains the same two copies of DNA from its parents, and thus implying that their ancestors were closely related, were also found. However, further examination disproved that close relation of a child’s distant ancestors will lead to various diseases.
To compare biodiversity, researchers used 16 traits as a mean for comparison and also took external factors, such as a child’s socio-economic status, into consideration. They split the groups into two, those whose parents had similar genetic make-up and those with genetically diverse parents.
Their results found that those born of parents with genetic diversity have on average 10 months more of formal education and were taller by 1,2cm (approximately 0,5 inches) along with differences in their lung capacity and blood pressure.
The study holds great importance and will likely be accorded more interest due to the fact that 12% of marriages in the United States are between two people of racially and culturally different backgrounds. It is believed that genetic diversity will continue to grow as it decreases the chances of passing on faulty copies of the same DNA, such as certain disorders or diseases.
Darwin had speculated about the benefits of genetic diversity as possibly being the peak of human evolution. It speaks from a biological standpoint that height is a genetic trait as it means running faster to catch prey just as intellectual abilities were used for tracking by hunters.
The study is particularly interesting when faced with the high probability that racial diversity will continue to grow as it had for the past 100 years.