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Genetic Creativity

musemThis post is part of a blog museum, archiving old writing from a previous blog.
23andMeLogo_MagentaLimeSo today I spat a ton of my DNA in this little plastic tube, sealed it up and will mail it off to 23andMe tomorrow. Doesn’t sound pretty, I know. But that’s apparently how they run DNA testing.

Not that I know a whole lot about DNA testing — it was my birthday present from Syn (when it was on mega-sale for DNA day). She got her own DNA tested earlier this year and found some really interesting things about her history, ancestry and her genetic make-up. She says there’s even a gene that tells you how creative you are in a genetic sense. Very cool!

It’s a curiosity to think that people can be born with a creative gene. It makes me ponder if there are different kinds of creative genes — genes for those who love to write as compared to those who love to draw, make music, design crafts or build things with their hands. Or if it’s all a certain gene-type that says “Yo, you’re creative! BAM!” and then your upbringing and environment helps to guide you toward what sort of creativity you have.

Just curious ramblings! I’ll have to do some research to find out. Or maybe some bio-wonder could drop a line and tell me how it works!

Either way, my spit is in the mail tomorrow. Yummy!


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12 thoughts on “Genetic Creativity

  1. I never knew there was a creativity gene. Though it does make sense, now that I think about it. I come from a very creative family, though I’m not quite the same kind of creative they are . And that kinda comes up with your question (or at least I think it does). I mean, why do I prefer drawing manga when my grandfather did landscapes? Why do I (attempt) to write fiction when my brother writes articles? (I can, however, answer questions when they relate to instruments – my branch of the family’s also very cheap)
    Anyway, I always kinda figured I was different ’cause I’m left-handed, which means I’m right-brain dominant, and that’s the creative side of the brain (the left dealing with more mathematical stuff) everyone else in my family (as far as I can tell) are right-handed, except for my younger older brother, but he doesn’t count, ’cause he’s going to politician school. *does not like government-related stuff*
    I am now going to end this rant that actually doesn’t seem to have much to do with DNA at all.


    1. Yeah, I’m not quite sure about that either. There are so many different ways creativity manifests itself. And I’m not all that sure where I stand on the DNA-rules-who-you-are spectrum either. I think it’s a bit of genetics and a bit of environment… and a bit of a few wild cards thrown in there, too.

      The DNA testing does warn you that the results only show the probability of certain genetics in your line. There’s no 100% for-sure that if you are genetically prone for one thing or another that it will happen.

      I’ll have to poke Syn and see if she’ll discuss it a little. She has a background in Biology that I don’t. I’m the Psychology/Writing person. XD


  2. Hmm… I am right handed, but I’m pretty creative… I can draw really well when I put my mind to it and have references (doesn’t happen often, but it’s possible) and I try writing (not very good at that either but I don’t have a lot of practice) and I’m a semi-professional musician (still getting through university) and I can do all kinds of other artistic things without much difficulty for the amount of time I’ve put in them. So if creative genes do exist I’d lean towards the ‘all-purpose creative gene’ theory because that’s what I seem to be exhibiting signs of.
    My dad’s a watercolour artist, and he’s very artistic. However, if art is genetically passed on we’re not sure where the music came from because neither of my parents and none of my grandparents play music, but my brother and I both do. (shrug)


    1. I, too, am right-handed. You guys know the kind of stuff I like to do. I write — both fiction and business writing. I draw, mostly graphic art, though when I was younger, I did paint a little as well. I don’t play music, but I do have a musical ear. If I had learned to play music when I was younger, I know I would have been able to do that, too.

      I’m miserable in 3-D type of crafts. Like sculpting and pottery and anything that requires me to mold something into a shape. I’m also poor in design. Some people and put a pen to the paper and draw all sorts of ornate designs and line work. I’m not one of those people. I tend to draw more emotional creatures or people… and am weak in drawing objects or inanimate designs. So even in the realm of art, there are things artists are strong and weak with.


  3. Yeah, there are some things that are definitely genetically controlled, though I’m pretty sure that those are pretty basic. I think that some people may be surprised to find just how much environment can do to people. For example, smaller jaws (apparently), and the whole overbite, underbite, and tooth crowding problems. I remember being told in a human origins anthropology class that we essentially have the genetic potential to have enough room for our teeth, but the environment messes it up, partially due to the foods we eat I think. Problem is, tooth size and number of teeth are genetic, and it is programed (as it were) for a larger jaw size… which most people don’t have now. So people with smaller jaws/mouths have just the same number and size of teeth as their genetic potential dictates, but not usually the size of jaw required.

    How this plays into creativity I don’t know. I never really thought myself all that creative, and in comparison to some people, and in certain areas, I most certainly am not. Yet, despite thinking that I cannot draw for the life of me (probably due to having a friend who always outclasses me in that department), I started writing because, well I dunno, I had ideas, and goodness knows where they came from! Possibly because I read far far far too much. Either way, after I started writing I started doing some drawing as well to place alongside the writing. As in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “I’m getting better!” But my father can come up with some wild (not necessarily good) stories sometimes, seemingly out of thin air, and maybe I can too, then again given his life I can blame lots of inspiration (unless he’s lying about his younger years).

    Could be genetic, but I am still inclined to think environment has a far larger effect than a lot of people give it credit for (but maybe not as large as some people give it credit for). My rule of thumb is that if it’s physical it has a genetic base that is further affected by what food you eat, nutrient values, etc. I think that the brain is far more complex than that though, but some things, like brain size and shape and the number of little folds, and possibly which side is dominant, are somewhat physical and may be just as based on a template that is affected by environment. As for the inner processes, well, I’m not sure, but I do know that the first twelve years are the best time to learn a language, and I think they may form the basis for a child’s mind. Whether or not this is the environment affecting a preformed genetic thing, or basically starting from scratch, I don’t know.

    Sorry for the length of this, hope it is interesting.


    1. Don’t apologize for your comments — I love reading them. Thanks for taking the time and thought that you do! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I agree that environment plays a big part in things, too. My mother was artistic, encouraged me to be artistic and I went to town with it even in my earliest memories. I don’t know if either of my parents were much for writing, though my mother used to be an avid reader, as was I.

      My sister, on the other hand, always showed signs of creativity with art and has a very strong grasp in writing. But she didn’t practice it. I think it could have been because I was so much older than her and she perceived me as “better.” It’s kinda tough to outdo a sibling who has five years of constant practice over on you, so I wonder if she just got frustrated and chose to put her efforts into other things. She never developed her artistic skills… but she is much more of a people-person than I am and is very good in “working a room” as I’d call it. She’s at home hosting large gatherings and putting her creativity into keeping people well entertained. That’s just not an area I’m that good at, but I see it as a form of creativity, even if it isn’t done with paper or pencil.


  4. I don’t think creativity is necessarily completely genetic, though there have been some associations between creativity and genetics. I’m not sure whether or not 23andme has anything “conclusive” one way or another. People still are arguing what creativity is. There apparently is a link between creativity and intelligence, though intelligence alone does not necessarily imply that you are creative.

    The ones in the 23andme assay that are spoken over are AVPR1A and Rs6994992. Rs6994992 has some sort of implication in terms of creativity – but also schizophrenia! So perhaps a tendency towards mood disorder and mental illness may have some basis in creative people… then again.. who knows.. some of these studies are rather myopic in terms of populations and such; it’s hard to draw strong conclusions on such things.

    My mom loves to read. My dad hates to read (but that may be partially due to the fact that he was born 75% deaf and not caught at a young age.). Neither of my parents play musical instruments. My brother plays video games. ๐Ÿ˜› My paternal grandmother loved to read, and she sung in opera. (I think the singing gene must be buried somewhere). I sure can’t draw, and whether or not I can write well is debatable in the end. ๐Ÿ˜› But I do have fun reading all of the stuff you guys write. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Creativity and Schizophrenia may be linked! Who’da thunk it? Okay so I do tend to think out loud sometimes… and sometimes carry on what could be character dialog out loud too. But I think that’s leaning more towards multiple personalities. Yay.

      As far as conclusiveness, I remember them mentioning that they found some gene or other that would increase the risk of cancer. Point is that gene didn’t mean they would get cancer, it just increased the risk of it. They day genetics become a stable predictor of people’s lives is going to be the day the insurance companies have a field day! Unless a law is passed that stops them from discrimminating based on genetics. Anyway…

      Humans are so complex; or ‘people’ are complex depending on the distinction between ‘human’ and ‘person.’ Either way I doubt the day will come during any of our lifetimes that we can all simply be predicted by a machine or something. Which is what makes authors so amazing, and what makes the art of character creation so interesting. Oh and the figments too. Can’t forget them.


        1. I wouldn’t doubt it. A lot of the great painters were also a little touched in the head. XD

          Who’s to say I’m any better? :p


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