What Is an Ancestral Trait?

ancestral-trait Credit: Emilio Labrador/CC-BY-2.0

An ancestral trait is a genetic similarity passed down to subsequent generations, such as eye and skin color. Male pattern baldness and flushed cheeks are also considered ancestral traits.

Ancestral traits are DNA structures that tell people about the origins of their ancestors. They also explain why family members may look alike. Minor things, such as the shape of the nose or unwieldy hair, can be defined attributes of a particular family. Musical ability and other talents may also be associated with ancestral DNA. Genetic disposition may cause a person to share a common trait with another person in the family. For example, two cousins may share the same fondness for lemons because of genetic variants that spread within the family. Genetic variants may also explain sneezing in sunlight and sugar cravings.