Woman sneezing

Sun sneezing, asparagus pee, and why mosquitos love you

Did your mother ever tell you, or maybe your bestie at camp, that when you want to sneeze but it just won’t happen, look at a bright light or the sun?

And you did and just like that, you sneezed?

No? 

Well, it’s a thing. It’s called photic sneeze reflex.

Maybe you are one of those people whose urine smells like asparagus right after eating them. Not everyone does. 

Who doesn’t love to be the life of the party? Introverts excepted.)

But there’s one party no one wants to even attend, the one with a guest list full of mosquitos. Are you one of the lucky ones who mosquitos can’t get enough of? 

It’s so annoying that some of your buds will get nary a bite.

And why am I telling you all of this? 

Because each of these quirky attributes are caused by genes. And while I think the science surrounding genes and what we can learn by having our genes tested is fascinating–I’m geeky like that–it can be a bit dry. 

So I thought it was time to have some fun.

Here are a few fun facts about genes and the humans and other life forms who share them.

  • You’ve likely heard that we share 98% of our DNA with chimps, about 85% with mice. 70% with zebrafish, and 60% with chickens.
  • One of my favorite stats is that we about 50% with bananas

And on it goes, fruit flies, nematodes, water fleas, and, wait for it–sea sponges! We share a whopping 70% of our DNA with these creatures.

Who studies this stuff and why?

Scientists study the animals and other creatures we share DNA with for a number of reasons. Just because we share genetic information with them doesn’t mean we are like them. 

Genetic similarities allow scientists to study diseases and potential treatments in model organisms before testing them on humans. It’s much easier and faster to manipulate the genes of a fruit fly or mouse, observe the outcomes, and apply that knowledge to human medicine.

In addition, these shared genes are usually responsible for basic cellular functions—things like cell division, protein synthesis, and other fundamental life processes. The fruit fry doesn’t have the complexity of a human, but many of its basic building blocks are similar.

What about the humans you share your family of origin with? 

Sibling DNA means you are about as much the same as each other as you are with bananas. 😱

Every child gets 50% of their genome from each parent, but it is always a different 50%. The exception of course is identical twins. This is why siblings can be so different from each other. And why you might experience different health issues.

There’s more to the story than just your genes too. You may have heard the saying, “Genes load that gun and lifestyle pulls the trigger.” Our lifestyle habits alter which genes turn on and turn off. Think nurture vs nature.

Your genetic profile has a wealth of information about why you are the way you are, how healthy you are or not, and whether you’re the bee’s knees for pesky mosquitoes. If you’re curious to find out what’s going on in your DNA, have an issue that you can’t seem to fix, or are interested in getting on a path to healthy aging, the MyHappyGenes® test and reports are the way to go.

The test won’t be able to tell you which genes you share with a sea sponge or a banana but I guarantee you’ll learn important information you can use to be the best you can be.

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