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Thread: Can parents' strength of character influence the sex ratio of their children ?

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    Question Can parents' strength of character influence the sex ratio of their children ?



    In the last three years I have often wondered if a man's Y-chromosome or a woman's X-chromosome or even mitochondrial DNA could influence the likelihood of their children being a boy or a girl. This led me to analyse the genealogy of people I know who tested for Y-DNA and mtDNA, in order to determine if patterns emerged linking some haplogroups with an increased incidence of male or female offspring. While I did find some patterns (e.g. more boys in R1b families), I made another fortuitous observation regarding gender ratio.

    I have observed hundreds of couples that I know personally, relatives and friends, and I noticed that whenever one of the partners had a clearly dominant character over the other, their children had a strong bias in favour of the gender of that dominant parent. In other words, if the wife wear the pants in the family and the husband has rather meek personality the couple will usually have more girls, or only girls. On the other hand, if the man is very masculine and authoritative and the wife rather submissive, then their chances of having boys if far greater. Couples with more balanced the strength of character between the partners were more likely to have a similar ratio of boys and girls.

    I know that it mat sound funny, and doesn't seem to have any underlying scientific or logical basis. Yet, that is what I have constantly observed. This is particularly flagrant among couples who have at least three children and have only boys or only girls. The difference in strength of character doesn't have to be huge, but the greater the gap the higher the bias in favour of the dominant gender.

    I was wondering whether you have noticed anything similar ?

    If there is indeed a trend in this sense, it could be explained by the fact that people with strong characters have higher male or female hormonal levels. Men with high testosterone are more dominant, but also have higher sperm counts, which leads to more male offspring (this is scientifically proven, and could actually be linked to Y-chromosomes haplotypes too). Women with strong personalities may have higher oestrogens levels that could create a more hostile uterine environment for the weaker male spermatozoa, effectively selecting female ones. It could also be linked to mtDNA, which appears to influence the pH of all organic tissues.
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    I can't say that I did notice any pattern in this regard.
    Can you check historic figures, or leaders, dictators of present times, to confirm?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    I can't say that I did notice any pattern in this regard.
    Can you check historic figures, or leaders, dictators of present times, to confirm?
    Let's check. It's not really easy because even if we know much about a man's character, we don't necessarily know how his wife was.

    Napoleon had one son with Marie Louise, two other acknowledged illegitimate sons, and possibly one more son and daughter. That's a strong bias for boys, and all with different women. Stalin had two boys and a girl.

    In the royal family of Great Britain, George V was a naval officer with a strong military attitude who educated his children as if they were his subordinates. He had five boys and a girl. His wife was well-read but could never do what she really wanted until her husband's death. In contrast, the shy and stammering George VI had two girls with his strong-willed wife Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Women with strong personalities may have higher oestrogens levels
    I didn't know that oestrogene has this particular effect on personality. I wonder if it could be rather be the testosterone which may have considerable levels in females too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHorsto View Post
    I didn't know that oestrogene has this particular effect on personality. I wonder if it could be rather be the testosterone which may have considerable levels in females too.
    That may be the case.

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    I know there have been studies which show that poor people have slightly more females and rich people slightly more males.

    Children of weak, low status men are slightly more often female.

    Also those with better "looks" tend to slightly favor females. All of this makes sense from an evolutionary stand point. Though it has been statistically documented its unknown what actually causes this.

    So it would seem they have already done studies which back up this theory in some ways. However the bias is not large. Maybe a shift to 51% boys or something. Sorry too lazy to google it. Just something I read in the past.

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    There are few examples of strong female sovereigns. One of them is Isabella of Castile. At the tender age of 17 she already planned to seize the throne from her half-sister Joanna, which she did a few years later when their father died. Though married to King Ferdinand II of Aragon, she was determined to rule Castile on her own. Throughout her life she showed an extreme strength of character. She was an extremely authoritarian absolute monarch, who didn't share power with the nobility or clergy and could stand up to her husband, who wasn't a weak man at all (he even served as an inspiration for Machiavelli's Prince). Isabella was clearly wearing the trousers. The couple had four daughters out of five children.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Maciamo, I tend to agree with your conclusions, even if I have no idea how it would be justified empirically.

    Moreover, you have to consider another factor that is something of a point of folk-wisdom at least here in the US. Generally, children will be the opposite sex of the parent who wants children the most. So if the man wants children the most, they will have daughters; if it is the woman, they will have sons. As the submissive person in the relationship is usually the one more interested in the children, it seems like this point of folk-wisdom might compare well with your findings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFWR View Post
    Maciamo, I tend to agree with your conclusions, even if I have no idea how it would be justified empirically.

    Moreover, you have to consider another factor that is something of a point of folk-wisdom at least here in the US. Generally, children will be the opposite sex of the parent who wants children the most. So if the man wants children the most, they will have daughters; if it is the woman, they will have sons. As the submissive person in the relationship is usually the one more interested in the children, it seems like this point of folk-wisdom might compare well with your findings.
    That's an interesting observation, though it is much harder to assess without asking each couple. It's much easier to determine among relatives and friends which partner in a couple has a stronger personality (a stable factor, visible to anyone) than to know who wants children the most (a feeling that can vary in time and is usually only shared with close relatives and friends).


    I also have no idea why either factor (character, or desire to have children) seem to have an effect on reproductory biology. But if it is confirmed by sufficient observation, then it should be true. It's not because everybody knows instinctively that birds can fly that a lot of people understand the exact physics and avian biology that explain it. Here I am just pointing an observation of mine. If this observation happens to be confirmed by other people around the world, we might have a case with reasons worth investigating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    That's an interesting observation, though it is much harder to assess without asking each couple. It's much easier to determine among relatives and friends which partner in a couple has a stronger personality (a stable factor, visible to anyone) than to know who wants children the most (a feeling that can vary in time and is usually only shared with close relatives and friends).
    Yes, quite true. Though as I noted, it is something of folk wisdom here in the US, or at least in NY.

    I also have no idea why either factor (character, or desire to have children) seem to have an effect on reproductory biology. But if it is confirmed by sufficient observation, then it should be true. It's not because everybody knows instinctively that birds can fly that a lot of people understand the exact physics and avian biology that explain it. Here I am just pointing an observation of mine. If this observation happens to be confirmed by other people around the world, we might have a case with reasons worth investigating.
    I quite agree. I'd be interested in finding out why myself.

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    Works with Henry VIII as well. He had eight sons and six daughters (if you include his illegitimate children).

    My family follows this theory. My older brother has a very dominate personality and a very submissive wife. They have three sons. My sister is a very dominate woman and her husband is submissive. They have a daughter (then my sister decided one was enough, lol). My middle brother is submissive to his wife, and they have two girls and one boy. My wife and I have similar personalities, and I have a boy and girl. We had a boy first, so I guess I lean on the dominate side, lol.

    Interesting observation none the less.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    if the wife wear the pants in the family and the husband has rather meek personality the couple will usually have more girls, or only girls. On the other hand, if the man is very masculine and authoritative and the wife rather submissive, then their chances of having boys if far greater. Couples with more balanced the strength of character between the partners were more likely to have a similar ratio of boys and girls.
    Well I have observed the same phenomenon on average it seems to be right. It is actually also a well known picture "seeing dominant moms with their Girls" dominating the Husband.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan View Post
    Well I have observed the same phenomenon on average it seems to be right. It is actually also a well known picture "seeing dominant moms with their Girls" dominating the Husband.
    That's only in anti-men advertisement and such.

    As something of a counterpoint to what I actually agree with in general (this hypothesis): I have often seen a lot of macho men who have had more daughters than sons (if any at all).

    Example: Former HW MMA champion and multiple time Sambo World Champion Fedor Emelianenko has two daughters with two women.

    Muhammad Ali has 7 daughters and two sons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFWR View Post
    That's only in anti-men advertisement and such.

    As something of a counterpoint to what I actually agree with in general (this hypothesis): I have often seen a lot of macho men who have had more daughters than sons (if any at all).

    Example: Former HW MMA champion and multiple time Sambo World Champion Fedor Emelianenko has two daughters with two women.

    Muhammad Ali has 7 daughters and two sons.
    Physical strength does not equal strength of character. A lot of typical macho men tend to be weak in their mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Physical strength does not equal strength of character. A lot of typical macho men tend to be weak in their mind.
    Almost no athlete can become a champion without a strong strength of will. Sports psychology stresses the primacy of will.

    However, it might be the case that these figures are more likely infrequently with their wives, such that the wife has to take on the leadership duties in abstentia. In that case, it would be interesting to study to see whether men who aren't often with their wives have more daughters than men who take an active control of their affairs.

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    The gender of one's offspring depends on the father not the mother, regardless of her strength of character, MtDNA or X chromosome. Remember that men produce sperm that carry Y and X chromosomes. It depends on which swims the fastest. Let's say for example the majority of R1b men's Y sperm probably swims more faster probably depending on the strength of their X which they inherited from their own mother. A woman's MtDNA or X chromosome plays no role in the gender of her offspring. Her MtDNA is passed on like a parcel and when you open it, you have your haplogroup, revealing which motherline you're born to. Perhaps why every haplogroup that has survived till this day depended on where they for thousands of years more or less inhabited in the world and usually mated with their own tribes until new ones came along. Some were perhaps more mobile than others. Perhaps men were surrounded more by women with the same X chromsomes thus producing daughters with more common haplogroups depending on where they lived. I think X chromosomes should be given their own haplogroups. Every Y-DNA and MtDNA haplogroup living in the world today, whether they are common and rare nowadays, were at some time in history common for them to have even survived today. Each have come a long way and has a fascinating mysterious story to tell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foryouandme View Post
    The gender of one's offspring depends on the father not the mother, regardless of her strength of character, MtDNA or X chromosome. Remember that men produce sperm that carry Y and X chromosomes. It depends on which swims the fastest. Let's say for example the majority of R1b men's Y sperm probably swims more faster probably depending on the strength of their X which they inherited from their own mother. A woman's MtDNA or X chromosome plays no role in the gender of her offspring. Her MtDNA is passed on like a parcel and when you open it, you have your haplogroup, revealing which motherline you're born to. Perhaps why every haplogroup that has survived till this day depended on where they for thousands of years more or less inhabited in the world and usually mated with their own tribes until new ones came along. Some were perhaps more mobile than others. Perhaps men were surrounded more by women with the same X chromsomes thus producing daughters with more common haplogroups depending on where they lived. I think X chromosomes should be given their own haplogroups. Every Y-DNA and MtDNA haplogroup living in the world today, whether they are common and rare nowadays, were at some time in history common for them to have even survived today. Each have come a long way and has a fascinating mysterious story to tell.
    Using the same logic, one could claim exactly the opposite. Men produce both X and Y sperm, but both are present in enormous quantity. It is only the mother's body that selects which spermatozoa will be able to reach the ovum. So you could say that the determining factor is the mother's body, i.e. the acidity/alkalinity and hospitality of the uterus to either male or female spermatozoa. I don't understand how one's strength of character can influence that, but it is possible that stronger willed women carry more of certain hormones, which ultimately influence the gender selection of spermatozoa. Likewise, men with strong character may produce stronger, more resistant Y swimmers, which increase their chance of reaching the goal safely. If both hypothesis are true, then both the father and mother's character may play a role in determining the gender of their offspring.

    Since common Y-DNA haplogroups are more successful at producing male babies (hence the fact that these haplogroups have become more common, by natural selection), it would make sense to assume that common Y-DNA haplogroups are linked to stronger male character. The same would apply to mtDNA haplogroups and female strength of character.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Using the same logic, one could claim exactly the opposite. Men produce both X and Y sperm, but both are present in enormous quantity. It is only the mother's body that selects which spermatozoa will be able to reach the ovum. So you could say that the determining factor is the mother's body, i.e. the acidity/alkalinity and hospitality of the uterus to either male or female spermatozoa. I don't understand how one's strength of character can influence that, but it is possible that stronger willed women carry more of certain hormones, which ultimately influence the gender selection of spermatozoa. Likewise, men with strong character may produce stronger, more resistant Y swimmers, which increase their chance of reaching the goal safely. If both hypothesis are true, then both the father and mother's character may play a role in determining the gender of their offspring.

    Since common Y-DNA haplogroups are more successful at producing male babies (hence the fact that these haplogroups have become more common, by natural selection), it would make sense to assume that common Y-DNA haplogroups are linked to stronger male character. The same would apply to mtDNA haplogroups and female strength of character.
    More common Y-Haplogroups are more likely the result of:

    1. Population increases. Farmer haplogroups are more common than hunter-gatherer haplogroups because there are millions more farmers than hunter-gatherers.

    2. Conquest. Men are disproportionately killed during episodes of conquest, and women are routinely raped in war by the conquerors.

    3. Population bottlenecks. If a small, homogenous group of people survive with one single Y-Haplogroup, then that population rebounds in isolation over the centuries than the resultant population will be exclusively of that Y-Haplogroup. This is true of American Indians, which are predominately haplogroup Q. In fact, populations which aren't Haplogroup Q in the Americas are indicative of a whole other wave of settlers, likely from Europe.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by JFWR View Post
    More common Y-Haplogroups are more likely the result of:

    1. Population increases. Farmer haplogroups are more common than hunter-gatherer haplogroups because there are millions more farmers than hunter-gatherers.

    2. Conquest. Men are disproportionately killed during episodes of conquest, and women are routinely raped in war by the conquerors.

    3. Population bottlenecks. If a small, homogenous group of people survive with one single Y-Haplogroup, then that population rebounds in isolation over the centuries than the resultant population will be exclusively of that Y-Haplogroup. This is true of American Indians, which are predominately haplogroup Q. In fact, populations which aren't Haplogroup Q in the Americas are indicative of a whole other wave of settlers, likely from Europe.
    These factors also played a role, especially in prehistoric times. As far as n°1 is concerned, the Y-haplogroups are Neolithic farmers (G2a, E1b1b, T) are not more common in Europe than those of hunter-gatherers (I1, I2, R1a). The most common of all, R1b, only came in the Bronze Age, and managed to replace most of the earlier haplogroups. I have already pointed out several years ago the five factors that could explain the modern dominance of R1b in Western Europe, and one of them is the genetic predisposition to conceive boys. This factor is the most important in the long run though.

    Both R1a and R1b were extremely successful in spreading all over the world. R1a is found all the way from Europe to South Asia, and as far east as Siberia and Mongolia. R1b is of course found in all Europe and the Middle East, and in European colonies (Americas, Australia), but remarkably also in South and Central Asia, Siberia as well among Native North Americans (apparently), and at low frequencies throughout most of Africa, with very high densities in parts of Cameroon. I believe that this stupefying propensity of haplogroup R to spread may well have more to do with a genetic bias to produce more boys than simply population increase and conquests.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    These factors also played a role, especially in prehistoric times. As far as n°1 is concerned, the Y-haplogroups are Neolithic farmers (G2a, E1b1b, T) are not more common in Europe than those of hunter-gatherers (I1, I2, R1a). The most common of all, R1b, only came in the Bronze Age, and managed to replace most of the earlier haplogroups. I have already pointed out several years ago the five factors that could explain the modern dominance of R1b in Western Europe, and one of them is the genetic predisposition to conceive boys. This factor is the most important in the long run though.
    Your attribution of thoes haplogroups as farmers are highly unlikely. Farming's main advantage over hunter-gathering is population. None of these haplogroups have near enough population to represent a massive influx of farming people who would, in even small groups, outmatch the far more sparsely populated hunter-gatherers were.

    R1a is also a pastoralist, conqueror, and farmer haplogroup. R1b almost surely was also a farming people after an initial expansion based on pastoralism.

    The attribution of R1b to the Indo-Europeans is far less certain than R1a. R1b matches only the western extent of Indo-European peoples and is not found significantly in other areas where R1a predominantes.

    Your other points are valid in the argument you made, excluding perhaps the preponderance of making boys. There is no evidence that suggests that R has a higher rate of boys, unless you know of some?

    Both R1a and R1b were extremely successful in spreading all over the world. R1a is found all the way from Europe to South Asia, and as far east as Siberia and Mongolia. R1b is of course found in all Europe and the Middle East, and in European colonies (Americas, Australia), but remarkably also in South and Central Asia, Siberia as well among Native North Americans (apparently), and at low frequencies throughout most of Africa, with very high densities in parts of Cameroon. I believe that this stupefying propensity of haplogroup R to spread may well have more to do with a genetic bias to produce more boys than simply population increase and conquests.
    I see no reason to suggest that it produces boys from this, when the people it subjugated were more primitive and therefore highly unlikely to be able to breed at the same rate as the more civilized R1bs. The American-indian influence is probably from the politically ignored (but archaeologically sound) notion that Atlantic Europeans reached the Americas in deep antiquity.

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    "Atlantic Europeans reached the Americas in deep antiquity" There's archeological evidence for this?

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    Just to throw more wood into the fire...Supposedly, there's an old world belief that it's how you "stick it in" to the wife that determines the sex of the child. If she's on top or in control the child is female while if the man is on top then the child will be a son.

    Maybe there's some truth to this who knows but a lot of older generation believe in it so it could have some truth to it. Kinda fits in with what you were saying Maciamo, about the strength and dominate personality of the couple.

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    Other examples of women with strong character having lots of girls:

    Empress Maria Theresa, who effectively ruled the Holy Roman Empire and Austrian Empire in place of her husband, Francis I, had 16 children, among which 11 were girls.

    One of her daughters, Maria Carolina became Queen of Naples and Sicily through her marriage to the weak and dissolute Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. Maria Carolina also assumed full control of the politics of her kingdom, ruling with an iron fist, like her mother. She had 18 children, including 11 girls. Considering the little faithfulness between the two spouses (both had countless lovers), it wouldn't be surprising if quite a few of her children were not by her husband though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Using the same logic, one could claim exactly the opposite. Men produce both X and Y sperm, but both are present in enormous quantity. It is only the mother's body that selects which spermatozoa will be able to reach the ovum. So you could say that the determining factor is the mother's body, i.e. the acidity/alkalinity and hospitality of the uterus to either male or female spermatozoa. I don't understand how one's strength of character can influence that, but it is possible that stronger willed women carry more of certain hormones, which ultimately influence the gender selection of spermatozoa. Likewise, men with strong character may produce stronger, more resistant Y swimmers, which increase their chance of reaching the goal safely. If both hypothesis are true, then both the father and mother's character may play a role in determining the gender of their offspring.

    Since common Y-DNA haplogroups are more successful at producing male babies (hence the fact that these haplogroups have become more common, by natural selection), it would make sense to assume that common Y-DNA haplogroups are linked to stronger male character. The same would apply to mtDNA haplogroups and female strength of character.

    I will take your theory into account because it's seems logical and I do like to keep an open mind to everyone's theories as long as it doesn't lead to discrimination against other human beings. I'm not accusing you or anyone else of that, of course . No disrespect.

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