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My Inherited Body Shape


Russian doll “Babuska”, comprised of five blue figures with musical instruments

Since my teenage years, I have longed for an hourglass body shape. Instead, I have what is often referred to as an apple shape, characterized by a straight waist and slender legs. I despised this body shape because it didn’t fit the societal standards. Dresses never seemed to fit me properly and I constantly felt inferior compared to my friends’ bodies. Regrettably, I found myself blaming my mother for passing me these genes.

Which genes was I really blaming?


We are all aware of the DNA inherited from both our parents determining aspects like eye colour and ear shape. However, there is another special set of genes, which I wasn’t aware of, known as the mitochondrial DNA. These genes reside in the mitochondria, the “powerhouse” of the animal cells, responsible for energy production and highlight the connection among the women of one’s family.


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is so exceptional because it gets passed down identically, from mother to daughter. This means that mtDNA creates a unique bond between me, my mother, and all the women who came before us in our family tree. Scientists use mitochondrial DNA to trace maternal lineage, spanning hundreds of thousands of year. A part of the first mother of humanity resides within each woman’s body. What a profound history we carry within us!

Connecting body shape with Mitochondrial DNA

The human body and its proportions vary significantly across the globe. Asian women for instance tend to have more petite physique, while Central African women often possess a more rectangular shape. In high-altitude regions, like the Andes or Siberia, women exhibit shorter characteristics as an adaptation to the cold climate. The diversity stems from the interplay of geography, time, and environmental conditions.


The body I was born with carries immense importance in the context of human history on Earth. We are in essence the latest iteration of our ancestors. Embracing our bodies means embracing our history! Here is where body shape and mitochondrial DNA intersect; they both remind us the unique connections we share with our ancestors, their genes and the way they lived thousand of years ago. Both are inherited from women of our past. It’s the fusion of the present with our ancestral history.

The true body purpose


So, I ask myself, is it truly important for my body to conform to the standards of modern society?. It's uniqueness and historical importance outweigh the need to follow trends and prototypes propagated on social media. I am transitioning from a woman striving to fit in, to one who accepts and loves the genes inherited from her mother. These genes, regardless of how my body looks, give me the ability to experience life’s wonders. They enable me to smell jasmine flowers, witness breathtaking sunsets, hear the people laughing, and savor the taste of pistachio gelato. And that, my friends, is more than enough!


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