When we think about inheritance, our minds may immediately jump to money, property or ancestral relics and knickknacks: jewellery, keepsakes and other precious belongings. But did you know? Probably the subtlest but most important heirlooms our parents will ever give us are the ones in our DNA: genes. The building blocks of our physical bodies that determine everything from the colour of our skin, eyes, hair and even our height. But those are obvious characteristics that can easily be noticed. Others are invisible, manifesting in the way we walk, talk and even think. Here are some genetic heirlooms that we inherit from not only from our parents, but from all our ancestors. Talent Parents often take credit for their children\u2019s giftedness, as if talent was genetic. If you used to roll your eyes at such preposterous claims, well, perhaps there\u2019s a grain of truth to them. According to a 2009 study, things like intelligence, memory, focus, musical ability and athleticism were all somewhat attributed to genetic factor. But in the words of Katherine Gates, \u201cgonzo-anthropologist\u201d and author of Deviant Desires: \u201cNature loads the gun, but nurture pulls the trigger.\u201d So, even if your children are destined for greatness, they\u2019ll probably never live up to their full potential without a helping hand. Waking and Sleeping This 2016 study showed that genes also determine if you\u2019re an early bird or a night owl. If your parents are morning people, then chances are you\u2019re one too. The same is true if they enjoy burning the midnight oil. This all leads back to your circadian biology, your response to times of the day and your level of alertness. A lot of this also has something to do with how your prehistoric ancestors survived living in the wilderness. So, this trait may have predated your parents by a few thousand years.\u00a0And while we\u2019re on the topic of sleep, insomnia is also genetic. Happiness Okay, this sounds a bit farfetched. After all, there\u2019s no such thing as a 'happiness gene', is there? Well, science says that your mood, self-esteem and ability to handle stress are directly tied to your DNA. According to a 2011 study, certain oxytocin receptors can determine your level of optimism, empathy and 'mastery' or the belief in your own ability to control your own emotions and life outcomes. These receptors also determine your level of altruism and friendliness. However, as with most things, happiness is the result of a confluence of various factors and never just brain chemistry. But having certain genetic predispositions definitely gives you an advantage. Sex This is a bit of a no-brainer. Of course, our sex is determined by our genes. But have you ever wondered what determines the sex of babies other than pure luck? Turns out, it\u2019s your dad. Sex differentiation is apparently more significantly determined by the male side of the family. Specifically, by how many siblings your father has. According to a 2009 study published in the journal Evolutionary Biology, a man with many brothers is more likely to have sons. On the other hand, a man with many sisters is more likely to have daughters. So, if you want to test this theory, go through your family tree. Who knows, you may just unlock a few genetic secrets. Neurodiversity This study shows that mental illness can be a result of genetic disposition. But did you know neurodiversity (or neurodivergence) is also inherited. Your child may be autistic because of an old gene, or a combination of genes, even if you or your spouse don\u2019t have autism. According to this 2021 study, neurodiversity (including some learning disabilities and disorders like dyslexia and ADHD) have a genetic component. But experts have long speculated that these neurodivergent genes may have helped our prehistoric ancestor survive in the wilderness. So, you should be proud if you have an autistic child; they possess a very rare and ancient trait that heralds back to a time before time. Driving Skills On the list of strange genetic inheritances, we have poor driving skills. Ever wondered why some people can\u2019t seem to operate a vehicle adequately? Well, it may be because of their DNA. According to a 2009 study, people with the BDNF gene tend to have poor response skills and difficulty remembering new motor skills. But that said, this gene affects more than one\u2019s ability to drive a car. It may also impede your alertness, coordination, and multitasking skills. Let's Embrace Our Ancestral Gifts There is no topic more contentious than the science of understanding who we are. Experts have argued for decades on the nurture vs nature issue, often ending in stalemate. But it\u2019s important to understand even the most ridiculous traits once served a purpose, even though we haven\u2019t necessarily decoded them all. However, that only adds to the mystery of our genetic make-up. The result of millions of years of survival and growth, and that is a gift that means more than any material object money can buy. For more insightful stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!