Hereditary Endowments

114Hereditary endowments are one of the events that take place during fertilization.

The chromosomes in mature male cell contain nearly 40,000 to 60,000 genes and the equal number in a mature ovum, i.e., female cell. Thus the newly produced baby’s hereditary endowment contains 80,000 to 1,20,000 genes, each carrying potentials for physical and mental traits.

The inherited characteristics of a baby is determined the possible combinations of chromosomes passed from different ancestors on the maternal or paternal side. Thus the union of sperm and ovum means the blending of two distinct hereditary lines will result into newly conceived individual. This baby form its own distinct personality by inheriting characters from parents, grandparents and other more remote ancestors.

Though most of the inherited characteristics are influenced by environment, other characteristics like eye color and skin texture are not influenced by environmental conditions. Favorable environmental conditions, stimulates genetic prospective while unfavorable environmental conditions throttle this development.

Laws of heredity determine what we are to be and what we will do in this world by third or fourth week of our prenatal existence. The genes thus transferred may also carry diseases to progeny also along with them. These disorders may develop either due to suffering of mother from some infection or due to side effect of certain drugs or chemicals or exposure to radiation during pregnancy. Rubella can result in the baby born with a heart defect, mental retardation etc. Other innate problems involve Down’s syndrome, hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, Color blindness, Neurofibromatosis, Cystic fibrosis, Celiac disease, Canavan disease to name a few. About an average of 2% babies are born with serious diseases.

Factors Affecting Physical Development

The physical development of an individual in their life is greatly affected by hereditary endowments which took place at the time of conception. Hereditary endowments place limits beyond which an individual cannot go. The hereditary endowment is purely a matter of chance; it cannot be controlled by any means.

Both environmental and hereditary factors combined together to have a significant effects on physical development of a child. Below are some of the heredity characters that affects physical traits and growth of child:

In Heredity Genes are passed from both the parents to an individual. These Genes carry information about height, weight, skin color, eye color, hair color, cognitive and mental processes through generations.

Dominant and Recessive
There are always a recessive gene and a dominant gene. The characteristic that will appear physically in front of all is according to the information carried by dominant genes. For instance, if one parent has dark hair and the other has light, the dominant gene will determine the color of the resulting child’s hair.


The physical development in children is measured in milestones at specific ages. Physicians use these developmental milestones to gauge the growth of the child. He can monitor if the child is making adequate physical progress or not.

Sometimes an abnormality occurs in the DNA of parents which is carried to offsprings. This abnormality results in physical disorders in a child. The Genetic disorders cause cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and cystic fibrosis, like physical disabilities.