The arrival of a new baby is often met with parents who are proud to have eyes, nose or mouth.
Research suggests, however, that children may even inherit the responsibility of mother and father.
A study of more than 700 siblings suggests that DNA influences the moral compass of the adolescents more than their education.
Researchers found that close relatives are more like their parents, even when their step-siblings grew up in the same house.
However, the researchers emphasize that our genes only "give us potential" and we can still "shape who we become".
Children can inherit how responsible they are from their mother or father (stock)
The research was conducted by Pennsylvania State University and led by Amanda Ramos, a PhD student in psychology.
"Many studies have shown a connection between parenting and these virtuous traits, but they have not dealt with the genetic component," said Mrs. Ramos.
"I thought this was a missed opportunity because parents also share their genes with their children, and we believe that parents influence their children and teach that these traits are at least partially due to genetics."
To uncover the role of genetics, the researchers analyzed 720 pairs of siblings aged 12 to 14 years.
These included identical and fraternal twins, brothers and sisters from divorced and intact families, half-siblings and step-siblings.
By including different sibling types that differed in their relationship, the researchers were able to get to the bottom of the role of genetic and environmental factors in influencing personality traits.
For example, identical twins share the same DNA, while step-siblings have no relationship, but often live together.
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The findings, made by a team from SUNY Upstate Medical University, New York, could expose critics who see ADHD as an excuse for bad behavior.
"If identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins, it is assumed that there is a genetic influence," said Ms. Ramos.
"By incorporating multiple degrees of relationship, you can extricate the genetic influences from the shared environment."
The researchers measured how much the siblings were subject to "parental positivity" – such as responsiveness and praise – as well as negativity such as screaming and conflict.
When the participants were 25 to 27 years old, the scientists examined how responsible and conscientious they were.
The results published in the journal Behavior Genetics showed that although positive parenting was associated with responsible and conscientious responsible children, the impact was stronger among the more closely related siblings.
"Essentially, we've found that both genetics and parenting influence these characteristics," said Ms. Ramos.
"The way children act or behave is partly due to the genetic similarity and parent's response to these behaviors of children.
"Then these behaviors affect the social responsibility and conscience of the children."
Study author Jenae Neiderhiser, a respected professor of psychology, human development and family history, believes her study helps explain how parents shape their children's character.
"Most people assume that education is the only environmentally friendly way to develop a virtuous character in children," she said.
But our results indicate that there are also hereditary influences.
"That does not mean that if the parents are conscientious, their children are also independent of how the children are parents.
"It does mean, however, that children tend to behave in a certain way and that should not be ignored."
Although they find a genetic link to personality traits, the researchers emphasize that their education and the environment also shape you.
"Genes just give you potential," said Mrs. Ramos. "People still make their own choices and have the freedom to choose who they become."