A genetic mutation is a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene, such that the sequence differs from what is found in most people. Mutations range in size; they can affect anywhere from a single DNA building block (base pair) to a large segment of a chromosome that includes multiple genes.
Evolution wouldn’t have been possible without mutations. For example, About 12,000 years ago, a single human had a mutation that granted them the incredible power to digest milk from a cow. Today this mutation is a common trait, and we’ve got entire industries devoted to producing and selling cow milk in various forms.
Scientists have estimated that every time the human genome replicates itself, there are roughly 100 new mutations. Most of them are negligible, but so often a mutation expresses itself in the form of superhuman ability. Here are eight of such bizarre mutations :
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1. Immunity to malaria
Sickle-cell anemia is a hereditary disease which is characterized by a mutated form of hemoglobin that causes red blood cells to take on a distorted shape, which reduces the ability to carry oxygen. Even though this is obviously a disadvantage, there is a bright side as sickle cells have proven to be resistant to malaria.
People with sickle-cell anemia carry two copies of the mutation, but individuals with only a single copy can maintain the malaria resistance without exhibiting any sickle-cell symptoms. It is because they still have normal enough shaped red blood cells to nullify the effects of misshapen ones.
Researches indicate that certain variation in genes is responsible for sickle-cell anemia that could offer up to a 93% higher resistance to malaria with only mild anemic symptoms associated. A mutation like this would have the potential to spread very quickly throughout the human population since it’s unmistakably beneficial to survival.
2. Super Vision (tetrachromacy)
Humans have three types of cones present in their eyes, which give them an evolutionary advantage as hunter-gatherers by better enabling to spot fruits and berries than animals with only two types of cones.
Color blindness is a condition that is caused by a gene mutation that disables one of these cones. It’s much more common in males since the genes that are responsible for detecting the colors red and green are found only on the X chromosome. But men only have one X copy. If mutations on the X chromosome occur, they’re more likely to exhibit altered traits than women who have two X chromosomes.
But what if instead of disabling one of the cones, a mutation increased the range of colors that was able to detect? If the mutation occurred in a man, it would likely only result in a slightly shifted color spectrum. But in a woman, if one of her X chromosomes had this mutation and the other one didn’t, it would hypothetically result in her possessing the ability to see an increased range of colors undetectable by most people.
3. Strong Dense Bones
There is a gene known as low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5), that controls the body’s bone density. This mutation causes degenerative diseases like osteoporosis, which
leaves the bones brittle and fragile. But, in some rare cases, this gene can jack up bone density to the point of adamantium-level unbreakability.
In one such case, a boy from Midwestern America was in a horrible car accident and walked away from it without so much as a fractured finger. This prompted doctors and scientists to examine his kin. They discovered that no one in his family had ever broken a bone, including a 93-year-old grandparent!
4. Wierd Flexibility skills
People having a genetic condition known as Marfan syndrome tend to be horrifyingly flexible. So horrifying that they can make a career out of playing ghosts in horror movies. .Marfan syndrome affects the body’s connective tissues. People who have it tend to be abnormally tall, have elongated limbs and be highly flexible. However, it is a spectrum disease, meaning that people with mild cases can lead fairly normal lives, but severe cases can lead to heart defects and other organ failures that could be life-threatening.
5. Amazing tolerance capacity
Researchers have shown that people with red hair have a higher tolerance capacity for spicy food and stinging pain. It is due to a variation of the gene MCR1, that produces red hair and also restricts melanin production. The good thing is that they can take the pain too since the same gene mutation causes them to be less responsive to anesthetics that are injected under the skin.
In 2009, a journal was published in which scientists identified the first genetic mutation that relates to sleep duration in any species. According to the research, a mother and daughter both had a mutation that causes them to have less amount of sleep. Although this mutation has only been found in two people, the power of the research arises from the fact that the shortened sleep effect was replicated in experiments using mice and fruit flies.
7. Fuller Eyelashes
Have you ever wished you could get those longer fuller lashes which companies are always claiming they can give you? Well, some people born with a mutation known as distichiasis may have more eyelashes than you can imagine. This trait causes two full rows of eyelashes to grow on each eyelid. For example, Elizabeth Taylor was always known for her stunning eyes, was famous for having this mutation.
Certain genes in the human body are able to unleash titanic strength without having to endure a stressed up workout routine. The proteins known as myostatin and activin A are normally secreted by cells to suppress excessive growth. They basically help in regulating a number of your muscle cells and the size of the cells by putting a limit on your overall strength. People with a genetic condition that prevents them from producing these proteins are naturally are able to grow their muscles extra-large, which results in super strength without steroids.