Infidelity and 12 other things we blame on our genes

Cheating spouses can now blame their DNA for their adulterous ways. Apparently our genetic makeup is to blame for almost everything we do

Maybe now Tiger Woods has an excuse?
(Image credit: Corbis)

If you thought a busted moral compass was to blame for marital infidelity, think again. The real cause might be your genetic make-up, say scientists at Binghamton University in New York. A minor variation of your dopamine receptor apparently makes you more likely to cheat on your spouse. In recent years, a growing list of vices, disorders, and frowned upon behaviors have been blamed on genes. Here's a list:


If you can't stop pigging out, it's because of a mutation in your genes, say British scientists from Exeter University. People with the "fat gene" are up to 6 pounds heavier than those without it.

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Those five maxed-out credit cards in your wallet might not be your fault, say scientists at Stanford University and the University of Florida, Gainesville. Studies of identical twins show that "extreme choices" — such as deciding whether to shell out for an expensive pair of shoes — are genetic.


Can't quit the cancer sticks? Blame your DNA! Your genes not only make you more likely to get hooked on smoking, they also make it harder for you to kick the habit, say researchers at a Houston-based cancer center.

Bad driving

About 30 percent of Americans have a "gene variant" that make them roughly 20 percent worse at driving, says a study from the University of California, Irvine. Next time you have a fender-bender, you know what to blame.

Inability to remember faces

If you can't put a name to a face, it may not be because you're not paying attention. No, facial recognition ability — or the lack of it — is another thing that comes from our genetic make-up, according to a study from Wellesley College in Massachussets.

Poor sense of direction

Can't seem to ever find your way home? Apparently individuals missing a sliver of their genetic alphabet — a condition known as Williams Syndrome — find it more difficult to navigate from point A to point B.


Speech therapists have been trying to cure this impediment with therapy, but drugs may be more appropriate. Researchers at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders have discovered that stutterers share a mutated gene.


Why are some women more "combative" than others? Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that hostility in women may be genetic.


If your teenager is a slacker, you might just have yourself to blame — or your genetic make-up, at least. Scientists at the University of California found that the urge to keep fit or remain inactive is passed down from generation to generation.


The desire to pick on weaker individuals than yourself is hereditary, according to a study by the Institute of Psychiatry in London. This kind of inherited "aggressive antisocial behavior" is especially profound in girls.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Constant typing is often blamed for the aching wrists associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, says orthopaedic professor David Ring of Harvard University, but it's far more likely to come from your genes.

Dislike of spinach, broccoli

Next time you're trying to convince a reluctant kid to eat some spinach, consider this — he or she may be genetically pre-disposed to dislike it. Genetic "super-tasters," people who have more taste buds on their tongue than most other people, tend to dislike spinach, broccoli, grapefruit juice, green tea, and soy products.



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