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Woman rolling her tongue.

Hills, Jennie

Woman rolling her tongue.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 26cm x 32cm


Close-up of mouth. In 1940 the American genetic scientist Alfred Henry Sturtevant (1891-1970) published a paper claiming that tongue-rolling was a genetic trait. Sturtevant concluded that people who inherited the dominant tongue-rolling gene, or allele, (coded 'R') from at least one of their parents could roll their tongues, but that people who inherited a recesive or mutated form of this allele gene (coded 'r') from both parents, could not. He later admitted that tongue-rolling was not simply genetic but subject to environmental factors, and could be learned.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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