How does DNA carry behavioral characteristics?


I understand that DNA carries physiological human traits like skin tone, hair, athleticism, etc. But how is it that children mimic the same mannerism that one of the parents had. For example, a ditto sleeping position, or in the case of a guy I know who used to hold on to his moms/dads ear as a child, and now his son does the exact same thing. How does DNA carry behavioral characteristics/traits?

In: Biology

It’s often said that children are sponges, this is very true. DNA does not carry over behaviors or personality, like how twins can be identical but they have different personalities. Mannerisms are picked up from parents because children mimic their parents. As for the ear thing, I don’t really have an answer for that, more than likely a coincidence.

As the previous comment said, a huge part of it is just children mimicking their parents. However, there is a genetic component as well. The DNA codes, among other stuff, for the neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. The receptors can therefore differ in their senzitivity to the specific transmitter or to some of the modulating factors which causes differences in behavior. The DNA also codes for the factors that play role in the development of the brain. Slight changes in these factors may cause the brain to be structured slightly differently which could also influence the way a person will behave.

Of course, there are so many genetic influences and they are so subtle that there is no way you could just read someone’s genetic information and know how the person will behave. Therefore, as of now, there’s no practical use for the genetics of behavior.

Also, I remember that some time ago I watched a series of lectures about behavioral biology with prof. Sapolski on Stanford University’s Youtube channel. I don’t remember how much into detail it went, but if you’re interested in this kind of stuff, it might be worthwhile for you.

If you are actually interested in knowing what humans understand about this question, check out Robert Sapolsky’s lecture series on [behavioral genetics]( It is free on Youtube from the Stanford channel. It might not be accessible to a five year old, but he certainly makes it accessible to the average Joe who knows a little bit about the scientific method.

The answer is no one actually knows yet exactly how much is nature (DNA) vs nurture (how you were raised).
Its the entire reason why its still one of the big scientific questions

>I understand that DNA carries physiological human traits […]

Well some physiological traits will also induce behavior change, eg: A painful knee joint may affect the way someone walks, different sensitivities to taste and smell affect dietary preferences and so on…