Turkey Day Round Up!


This week, I hope to offer a table of information on Thanksgiving Genetics, a venerable cornucopia of intellectual tidbits that offers a little something for everyone, be them vegan, vegetarian, or a hard cord lover of the turducken. So sit back, feast your brain, and enjoy!

Did you know that some people are just naturally more grateful than others?. An article in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience identified a variation in a gene (CD38) associated with gratitude. Individuals with this change tend to have a heightened tendency to experience, i.e., per the researchers, “global relationship satisfaction, perceived partner responsiveness, and positive emotions (particularly love).”

Humans have 46 chromosomes. Turkeys have 80. Find out more about the genome of your Thanksgiving dinner, or everything from corn to wine to chestnuts.

I grew up believing that a certain amino acid was the culprit in causing Turkey Daze, that half-conscious state you enter post-dinner as you lull on the couch, fighting a nap like a disgruntled toddler. As it turns out, tryptophan’s been framed!

At every meal, you have the light meat eaters and the dark meat eaters. Rarely does one cross the line into the other encampment. For the intellectualist at the table, understand the genetic switch that leads to the development of each type.

Lastly, for the kid’s table, an activity that allows them to create a turkey based on the “traits” their turkey receives. Bonus points for including dominant and recessive genes!

Now that you’ve filled your head with t-day themed conversation starters, go forth, be grateful, and as you gather around family this week, remember why family history is important!


About Author

Shannon Wieloch

Shannon Wieloch is a licensed board-certified genetic counselor at Recombine. Her primary responsibility is to provide genetic counseling to Recombine patients. She is also the current co-chair of the National Society of Genetic Counselors Prenatal Special Interest Group. Prior to joining Recombine, Shannon worked in cardiac research at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and in prenatal genetic counseling at The Delaware Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine. She received a dual B.S. in biology and psychology from The University of Pittsburgh and her M.S. in genetic counseling from Arcadia University. Her passion is to provide comprehensive genetic education to medical professionals, patients and the general public.