What Does Quantitative Genetics & Dance Have in Common?

Most people like dancing, but dancing at a competitive level has many similarities to sport. Professional dancers must be physically fit and practise timing, discipline and teamwork. Scientists have always applied genetics to try to understand what factors make a great athlete and those same factors can also be applied to dancers. Dancers certainly need to be athletes to perform, but there is a major difference between dancing and sports. Superior performance in sports requires anatomic and physiological factors on the quality of the athlete’s training. Dancing, although it requires these important factors, depends on coordination, artistic flair and the ability of interpretation and expression.

shutterstock_258530315What is quantitative genetics?

All our human traits come from our genetics. Inherited over generations, our traits are controlled by a range of genes that dictate our intelligence, height, skin colour and even resistance to disease. Although individuals are not identical, they have traits which make them similar and quantitative genetics is the study of how these traits came about. Human height is a good example as it is variable and can occur across a wide range. Someone is tall or short, but the only accurate way to measure this is with a numerical value, making it a quantitative trait. If you want to learn more about quantitative genetics, then visit www.icqg2012.org.uk.

Dancing is in your genes

Dancing is integrally related to music and both have been commonly practised in all societies throughout history. However, everybody is different in their ability levels and their love or need for dancing. In a recent study, scientists examined the DNA from 85 dancers and confirmed that the dancers studied had consistent differences in two key genes, both involved in the transmission of information between nerve cells. One was related to serotonin, contributing to spiritual experience, and the other to social communication and bonding. The conclusion was that people who love dancing clearly demonstrate and express two qualities: a heightened sense of communication and a strong spiritual personality trait. .