Don’t take that tone! Researchers say the pitch of your voice could be linked to your genetics after finding DNA mutation is associated with people who have higher timbres
- Scientists combined speech recordings from almost 13,000 Icelanders
- They found that part of the DNA is associated with a higher-pitched voice
If you find your high-pitched voice has held you back in life, blame your parents.
For the first time scientists have discovered a gene that determines whether your voice is husky and deep – or quite the opposite.
In the first study of its kind, scientists combined speech recordings from almost 13,000 Icelanders with data.
They found that part of the DNA – called ABCC9 – which is associated with a higher-pitched voice in both men and women. The gene sequence ABCC9 has also been linked to heart health.
The researchers, from Icelandic company Decode Genetics, say that having a genetically higher-pitched voice may mean you are more prone to heart trouble.
For the first time scientists have discovered a gene that determines whether your voice is husky and deep – or quite the opposite
The researchers, from Icelandic company Decode Genetics (pictured), say that having a genetically higher-pitched voice may mean you are more prone to heart trouble
Writing in Science Advances, the authors say that previous research has found that men with deeper voices may have higher levels of testosterone and more upper-body strength, father more and are judged to be more attractive and dominant.
Research has also shown they manage larger businesses.
The difference in pitch between the average male and female is ‘greater than in any other ape’ the authors say.
The authors say that the deepness of male human voices is likely to have been the result of sexual selection in the past – in other words men with deeper voices have had more success sexually.
Exactly how the gene makes a voice deeper or higher is as yet unknown.
But the ABBC9 gene has an effect on the adrenal gland, which produce several steroids known to influence voice pitch, which are later converted by the body into testosterone and other sex hormones.
The gene linked to voice pitch is also linked to having higher blood pressure and worse heart health, the authors say.
As well as genes having a part to play in how deep or otherwise your voice is, the authors say that having a voice that varies a lot in pitch – is an indication of an ‘open’ personalit, and verbal fluency.
The authors also suggest that speaking in a ‘lively’ way as opposed to a monotone may simply reflect ‘increased verbal ability’ and being a better reader.
While the authors concede that the influence of genes on voice pitch is ‘small to modest’ they say the effect is similar in magnitude to other heritable traits such as major depression and personality.