• Question: Are bad habits (such as nail biting and scratching) genetically transferred? Thanks!

    Asked by AnimalLover to Stéphane on 15 Mar 2018.
    • Photo: Stéphane Berneau

      Stéphane Berneau answered on 15 Mar 2018:

      I don’t think bad habits are genetically transferred. As part of a community, we learn by mimicking everybody such as nail biting and we learn if it is appropriate to do it or not (picking your nose in public).
      Scratching your body can also be a biological response to a stimulus (insect on your arm) or the start of an inflammation (ezcema).

      There are bad habits that can be inherited … I would prefer to name them as addictions (smoking, alcohol, drugs, sugar … yes I have put sugar).
      The environment and lifestyle will put us in contact or not with these substances.
      There is a genetic background for addiction.

      It is a bit more complex and this TED talk is amazing: