As the holiday season approaches, it’s the time of year where many of us start to consider what we’re most thankful for in our lives. While most people would say they are thankful for their family, friends, health, or job, I would be willing to bet that few, if any, would think about being thankful for genetics. So let’s talk about a few reasons why perhaps we should be…

Genetics are a huge part of what makes us who we are. Our genes are what give our bodies the instructions they need to form and function. They are why some of us have hazel eyes and others have variations of blue, brown, or green. Our genes determine our hair color, our height, and to some degree, whether or not we should have refrained from wearing our skinny jeans to Thanksgiving dinner.

Genes even play a role in our personalities. Have you ever noticed that you have the same reserved temperament as your mother or the same short-fuse as your father? And is there a gene for sarcasm? Yes, some of this is a product of living in the same environment as your family members, but some likely has to do with an inherited predisposition for certain personality traits.

Aside from the obvious factors that our genes influence, there are less overt ones that we can be grateful for as well. Our genes are essentially what make us human beings. It is our genes that give us the ability to form opinions, make decisions based on those opinions, cultivate meaningful relationships, experience a wide array of emotions, and do so many other things that separate humans from more primitive species. So, not only are we all so wonderfully unique because of our genes, but we are also unified by them as our genes are what make us human.   

At the next holiday function, I encourage you to think about how your genes connect you to the people around you.  Do you think your eyes are your best feature? Check out your other relatives and be thankful for whoever passed that trait on to you. Are you as quiet as your Aunt Merryl or as outgoing as your Uncle Daniel? Do you love your grandmother’s pumpkin pie and hope to inherit her recipe?  OK, maybe that doesn’t have anything to do with genetics, but wouldn’t it be cool if it did? If you’re someone who will be spending the holidays with friends (or  the family of the heart as I like to think of them) instead, think about why it is that you have formed a bond with those awesome individuals, why you are similar, and why you are different. I can guarantee that your genes likely played a role.

At CooperGenomics, we are thankful for genetics because they have allowed us to become a part of the lives of so many wonderful individuals and families.

So, from our CooperGenomics family to yours, we wish you a very happy holiday season!


Stephanie Corsetti

Stephanie Corsetti is a licensed board certified genetic counselor with CooperGenomics who provides genetic counseling services to patients. Prior to joining CooperGenomics she worked as a prenatal genetic counselor and coordinator of the Center for Prenatal Pediatrics at Geisinger Health System and as a prenatal genetic counselor and manager of the genetic counseling department for the Delaware Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine. Stephanie received her B.S. in Biology from Penn State University and her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Arcadia University. Her passions include increasing the accessibility of genetics services and the development of meaningful genetics education material for both medical professionals and patients.