Will I Follow In My Father’s Footsteps—Biologically Speaking?


Like father, like son, right? Pretty much, it turns out—though it’s more accurate to say like parent, like child. There are many areas where children take after their parents, but only a few seem to be specific to gender:

  • The presence of sex-controlled genes (as the scientists say) explains the reason why tall mothers are likely to have tall sons, and tall fathers are likely to have tall daughters.
  • Hereditary hair loss also has a gender component, as an important genetic risk factor is found on the X chromosome, which means men must receive it from their mothers. But multiple genes are involved in hair loss, and one might also be passed down by fathers.
  • Children of alcoholics are more likely than others to become alcoholics, and studies have proved a particularly strong link between alcoholic fathers and their sons, even in mice.

But before we get too down on our dads for all the harm they’ve done to us, let’s consider all the good things that fathers (and mothers) can pass on to their children, as outlined in Susan E. Mayer’s study, The Influence of Parental Income on Children’s Outcomes.

  • Kids’ earnings tend to be similar to their parents’, which is a good thing as long as your parents are raking it in.
  • If your parents have managed to stay out of jail, you’re less likely to end up there, too.
  • Sons of powerful CEOs have increased odds of becoming powerful CEOs, and the sons of Grammy winners have better shots at winning Grammys.

Hopefully, your dad is a cool enough guy that you want to follow in his footsteps, so the fact that there aren’t any genetic guarantees isn’t an issue. But when Mother’s Day rolls around next May, remember that your mom is just as responsible for how things turned out, for better or worse.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question—especially when it comes to your body, your health or your hygiene. Send us the things that you’ve always wondered about to bm@dollarshaveclub.com.