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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Gene Pool

Double Helix
I got your DNA …

So. DNA. It’s a thing, right? And it can be used to tell you where you came from.

And lately I’ve been interested in that. I mean, I’ve been wondering where my ADHD came from.

You see, it’s highly heritable, so the odds of it having developed spontaneously in me are pretty unlikely.

That means that one of my parents had it.

I’m betting on my mother

That’s right, my mom was the “spontaneously fun” parent. She was also the one that was always on the go.

And even more telling, she was the one who had coping skills that she passed on to me.

These skills helped keep my focus on things that would have been boring. She taught me to look closer at the dull parts of life, find the details, trick myself into being interested so that my focus wouldn’t wander.

And how did she know to do that?

Yes. Good question. I can only surmise that she had figured these things out, with or without the help of her public school teaching mother (my grandmother).

But the thing is, although Grandma may have taught her the coping skills (and shared them with me as much as my mother did), I’m pretty sure that granny was not afflicted with ADHD.

I’m guessing that good old Grandpa, a man I loved very much and both admired and respected, was the one with the genetic twitch that flipped a few switches in my mom’s and my DNA so that somewhere in that alphabet soup of letters that represents my chromosomes was the sequence “ADHD!”

There’s tests available … apparently

It is known that certain points on your DNA sequence will look a certain way if you have ADHD. But as yet, no one that I know of is doing DNA testing for ADHD.

My own DNA has been sent to Ireland (I’m not sure if that’s just because my name is Kelly, or if all the AncestryDNA testing is done there) for family and ethnic testing.

I’m pretty sure I’ll pass the test

You see, I’m very interested in where I originate from. Yes, I know that humanity first appeared in Africa, so yes, I’m aware that there is no such thing as “race.”

Or rather, there is such a thing as race but it is, in reality, a perceived difference used to rally ignorance around a standard as an excuse for distrust and abuse.


I’m disappointed that there is no website where you can fire off a genetic sample and find out for sure that you have the DNA that distracts. And I’m even more disappointed that the info regarding who shared that DNA with me isn’t available either.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not into finger pointing. But, somewhere among my 32 great-great-grandparents is at least one distracted soul who had never even heard of ADHD but knew they were different (we all knew we were different even as we struggled to fit in, be the same). And I’d like to be able to pay my respects to them.

So ADHD wise, I will find out nothing …

Ethnically? I’ll keep you posted. It might be interesting.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Gene Pool

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2016). A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Gene Pool. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 16 Sep 2016
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