Too Many Teardrops

Grab a tissue for this. Your genes may make you more prone to cry, and if you cry easily you are at higher odds to have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder.GeneticsOfCryingInfographic_030615

Looking at data from 200,000 customers who consented to participate in research, 23andMe scientists found a dozen genetic variants associated with whether a person cries easily.

Emotional Response

Crying is an emotional response that makes humans unique from other primates. Some would argue it’s what makes us human.

But in 23andMe’s study, researchers wanted to look more deeply into the emotional response. They wanted to know whether there were genetic reasons for some of us crying more easily than others.

Some of the research findings were presented last year at the American Society of Human Genetics annual conference. But this study includes both genetic and non-genetic associations. For instance, the study found that boys do cry, but just not as much as girls. According to the research women are three times more likely to “cry easily” when compared to men. Both men and women are more prone to cry as they age. That is especially true if one of their parents was more likely to cry easily.

Brain Development

Beyond those findings, the study offered some interesting avenues for future study. The variants identified were found in or near genes involved with brain development (IRX2 and ZNF423) , hormone synthesis (HSD17B12) and certain mood disorders (6q16.1). This could help researchers studying affective disorders, among other things.

23andMe offers its customers the opportunity to participate in research if they want. They can also opt out of research at any time. We are thankful to our customers who participated, making this and other studies like it possible.

Learn more about participating in research, or opting out of it, here.