Our bodies have a genetic weakest link but that does not have to determine our fate. Now that we know tongue-rolling is not solely determined by genetics, let’s look at the biggest myth of all: our genes determine what diseases we will get during our lifetime. Genetics certainly is one factor but we have so much more control over our health than we give ourselves credit for. I hear it all of the time, “Such-and-such disease runs in my family so I will get it too.” This is not completely accurate and needs to be understood so more people can have a longer and better quality of life.
How many times have we been taught that tongue-rolling is genetic? Parents, friends, doctors, and teachers have been trying to convince us for decades. Family studies using twins demonstrated clearly that there are important non-genetic influences on tongue-rolling.
Sturtevant who completed the 1940 study suggesting that there is a large genetic influence on tongue-rolling came to a different conclusion after other studies were made. In 1965 he claimed we should not use tongue rolling to demonstrate basic genetics. In reference to his 1940 study, he said he was, “embarrassed to see it listed in some current works as an established Mendelian case.”