Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Open the Window and Breathe

It might not just be the driver that makes you feel a bit queasy in the car. 23andMe researchers have linked 35 SNPs to motion sickness.

"It's estimated that up to 70 percent of a person's risk for motion sickness is due to genetics, but up until now the genetics of motion sickness was poorly understood," says 23andMe's Bethann Hromatka, one of the study's authors, at the company's blog.

As they report in Human Molecular Genetics, Hromatka and her colleagues performed a genome-wide association study on motion sickness in 80,494 individuals from the company's database. They homed in on 35 SNPs linked to the condition, including ones near genes involved in balance, and in eye, ear, and cranial development. The researchers also note that the effect of these SNPs was up to three times stronger in women.

The researchers report that a number of conditions commonly occur alongside motion sickness, including migraines, vertigo, and postoperative nausea and vomiting. Migraines and postoperative nausea and vomiting share some underlying genetic factors, the researchers say. 

Other lifestyle factors like sleeping habits and drinking red wine also seem to influence motion sickness risk, Hromatka and her colleagues add.