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At the Prologue of A Dance with Dragons, we see Varamyr Sixskin's story where he said that he got a lot of girls pregnant, but none of the children had the gift.

Was Varamyr expecting his children to have the ability to be a skinchanger? Is skinchanging hereditary?

4

Well given that Skinchanging is seen primarily in the current generation of Stark Children it's most likely implied that it is hereditary.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Skinchanger

The skinchanging ability is primarily seen amongst the current generation of Stark children. All of the children and their direwolves are said to exhibit common personalities, although in most instances this is entirely unconscious and is not likely to involve entering the animal's mind. The children are full wargs and can slip into just about anything, but Bran is the only one working on it.

Trinoc*Con 8 (Durham, NC; August 3-5, 2007) So Spake Martin

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4

We know that Varamyr attended meetings of skinchangers with his master Haggon. Assuming the nature of the gift was discussed, it seems reasonable to assume he had some anecdotal evidence at least that skinchanging could be inherited.

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George R. R. Martin has explicitly ignored answering the genetics side of things regarding warging but the answer is likely the same with skinchanging too. According to the person who took the notes down the way George said the following quote implies it is not hereditary but that is their personal speculation.

I will now tell the story of what GRRM said when asked about the Stark children and their ability as wargs. He was asked if the trait of being a warg ran in the Stark family.
"I don't know if I want to get into genetics - this is fantasy, not scifi" He replied. "I don't think this is necessarily a 'Stark' ability, though all the children have it to one extent or another. They also realize it to one extent or another. Arya doesn't realize she has it, she keeps thinking she has these weird dreams, and of course Bran is much further along". Thats all I have in of an exact quote in my notes. I believe he went on to say something about how Bran was seeking the crow and then took the next question.
I am not sure this is anything new. But perhaps he had not said -all- of the children had it before. And perhaps he had not implied so strongly before that it was not genetic people like Ned would probably not have it. However, the later is my interpretation of something he was implying by words and vocal tone. He acutally only said what I recorded above, he did not want to discuss genetics, but the children had it.
So Spake Martin, Border’s Signing (Oregon)

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