5-speed listening (Music and Genes - Level 3)

Ability to move to the beat of music is genetic



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We all love to move (or groove) to music. At the very least, we cannot resist tapping our foot or nodding our head when we hear music. New research suggests that moving our body to musical beats is genetic. Our dancing ability is in our genes. Parents pass their sense of rhythm down to their children. The study is from the Vanderbilt University in the USA, and the genomics and biotechnology company 23andMe. Researchers found 69 genes that affect how people react to musical rhythms. The researchers said different genes affect our ability to move in sync with music beats. They said the genes work in similar ways to those for other biological rhythms, such as breathing, walking and sleeping.

The researchers used bio-data from over 600,000 people in their research. Researcher Dr David Hinds said: "The large number of…study participants offered a unique opportunity…to capture even small genetic signals." He added: "This research represents a leap forward for scientific understanding of the links between genetics and musicality." Researcher Dr Reyna Gordon said: "Rhythm is not just influenced by a single gene. It is influenced by many hundreds of genes." She added: "Tapping, clapping and dancing in synchrony with the beat of music is at the core of our human musicality." The research could one day help doctors use music and rhythm to make us healthier.

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