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Significance of Multifactorial Traits

Introduction

Multifactorial traits refer to distinguishing human attributes that involve several factors or causes, especially about a condition or disease resulting from the interaction of many genes (Cummings, 2015). The environment contributes a lot to the development of human traits. Research has established that most traits exhibited by human beings belong to this category. Attributes such as height, hair color, and skin complexion belong to this category because they tend to vary from one person to another (Brown, 2007). This is also the case for certain diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, and defects. Although human characteristics are often passed through subsequent generations, research has established that genes and the immediate environment of an individual have a lot of influence on the way they are expressed. Research has established that traits expressed by human beings have similar characteristics, but not the same (Brown, 2007). This phenomenon is attributed to human genetic variations; whereby people tend to have certain common traits albeit with a certain level of inconsistency. Multifactorial traits are often influenced by a combination of genes from both parents, as well as several environmental factors (Cummings, 2015). Multifactorial traits play a very important role in understanding human genetic variation. The traits that people exhibit depend a lot on the kind of distribution the genes from both parents will have from the time of conception (Rosenberg, 2012). This explains the reason why some people are taller than others, more intelligent than others, and have different skin colors.

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Discussion

Research has established that the environment has a lot of influence on the way human beings exhibit certain traits (Brown, 2007). For example, people with albinism are very vulnerable to excess heat, thus do not have very many hours of contact with direct sunlight. Other conditions such as body weight can be influenced by the ability of individuals to engage in physical activities in their places of work or residence. One of the main features of multifactorial traits is the fact that they occur again in families (Rosenberg, 2012). This means that closely related family members have a high chance of exhibiting the same condition or physical feature. The main reason for this is the fact that multifactorial traits do not exhibit Mendelian ratios (Cummings, 2015). Some of the traits that closely related people have a higher chance of sharing include fingerprint patterns, height, eye color, and skin complexion. Fingerprints are often used as a means for knowing the identity of a person, as well as distinguishing between different people (Brown, 2007). As a multifactorial trait, the pattern of fingerprints can be slightly different, especially in the case of identical twins due to the effect of environmental factors.

According to experts, the prevailing environmental factors when a woman is pregnant, or the period from conception to birth can lead to dermatoglyphic changes (Rosenberg, 2012). Over the years, fingerprints have been used by law enforcement authorities to track down criminals (Rosenberg, 2012).

Height is also a very important multifactorial trait that helps in identifying and distinguishing people. Height varies a lot across all populations because we have short, tall, and medium height people. According to experts, some of the notable environmental factors that influence the variability of this trait across populations are health and dietary choices (Rosenberg, 2012). People tend to have a height measuring in between that of their parents. People who do not have any health conditions at birth or during their childhood tend to develop normally, thus their height is never compromised. On the other hand, people born with certain health conditions tend to experience stunted growth, which affects their ability to reach their maximum height (Paterson, 2010). Nutrition also influences the ability of human beings to grow to their maximum height. Good dietary choices are very important for the strong development of bones and other body organs. Over the years, height has been used as an element for describing, categorizing, and distinguishing people. Height plays a vital role in the life of human beings because it also defines roles for certain people, especially in sports and law enforcement-related duties (Cummings, 2015).

Eye and skin color is also important multifactorial trait among human beings. Research has established that eye color is an inheritable character that is controlled by several genes at once (Brown, 2007). The same case applies to skin color because its main influencing factor is melanin, an insoluble pigment that accounts for the color of an individual’s skin. Variations in the level of distribution account for the differences in people’s skin colors (Paterson, 2010). One of the environmental factors that have the most impact on skin color is sunlight. Research has established that exposure to sunlight for prolonged periods can make the color of the skin lighten or deepen (Brown, 2007). Although skin color has been widely used to predict the ethnicity of people in various parts of the world, scientists argue that it cannot be used to tell the genetic history of an individual (Cummings, 2015). The main significances of skin color are identification, distinction, and relation. Psychologists argue that people living in highly diverse communities tend to develop relations more easily with people of the same skin color because they believe in common ethnicity (Rosenberg, 2012). However, it is important to note that skin color is one of the multifactorial traits that have been abused the most across the world, as very many people have been subjected to racism in different parts of the world.

Bodyweight is also a multifactorial trait that has grown in significance over the years. For example, obesity has been a growing challenge in the United States of America, despite numerous campaigns sensitizing people about healthy life choices (Paterson, 2010). Research has established that bodyweight is a trait that depends a lot on one’s genes and a few environmental factors. Bodyweight is controlled by a hormone called Leptin, whose main role is in regulating appetite and the metabolic rate within the body (Paterson, 2010). People whose bodies produce this hormone in abnormal quantities often have issues with managing their body weight. High levels of Leptin increase someone’s appetite and decrease the rate of metabolism, thus leading to obesity. Research has established that the environment also controls body weight (Brown, 2007). Some weather conditions motivate people to engage in vigorous physical activities, while others limit people from being active. Physical activity is very important in the management of body weight. Bodyweight is very significant concerning the concept of human development because it influences the ability of the body to carry out its other functions. For example, obese people are very vulnerable to various heart conditions due to the high concentration of fat within the body. In addition, maintaining a good body weight is very important for healthy development, especially among children (Cummings, 2015). Research has established that obese parents often have a higher chance of having children with the same condition, a phenomenon that shows the effect of interaction between several genes (Brown, 2007).

Conclusion

Multifactorial traits play a very significant role in understanding human development and genetic variations witnessed in people. Experts argue that all human beings share the same traits, albeit with several variations. Height is a good example of such a trait since there are short and tall people. The same case applies to intelligence, whereby some people have a better ability to understand and profit from an experience more than others. Over the years, multifactorial traits have been used as a basis for identification, differentiation, and classification. Traits such as height, skin color, and body weight are often to describe someone. However, it is important to note that the variability in these traits has made them very desirable to the extent of causing harm. A good example is people who suffer from conditions such as skin cancer through tanning. Some tanning effects happen from exposure to sunlight, while others seek medical assistance to achieve the same. People need to accept the variability in the traits that define them because every human being is unique in their way.

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References

Brown, J.R. (2007). Comparative Genomics: Basic and Applied Research. New York: CRC Press.

Cummings, M. (2015). Human Heredity: Principles and Issues. New York: Cengage Learning.

Paterson, A.H. (2010). Molecular Dissection of Complex Traits. New York: CRC Press.

Rosenberg, L.E. (2012). Human Genes and Genomes: Science, Health, Society. California: Academic Press.

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