Blueprint of Life: 40 More Fascinating Facts About DNA and Genes – Part 2

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1Marsili Family

Marsili Family

There is a family in Italy named Marsili which cannot feel pain due to a rare genetic mutation. Family members can suffer burns and broken bones while feeling virtually no pain and they do not need any sort of anesthesia during surgery.


2. If you inherit two mutated versions of the MC1R-gene, you end up ginger. If you only inherit one, then you may end up with a red beard, but dark hair.


3. A geneticist at Utah State University has created "Spider-Goats." He took the gene that encodes dragline silk from an orb-weaver spider and placed it among the DNA that prompts milk production in a goat's udders. The silk produced from its milk is stronger than Kevlar and is suitable for ligament repairs.


4. A little girl named Eva Pym is the only known person in the world with her particular chromosomal deletion. Eva has severe movement and mobility delays and development and language delays.


5. Approximately 30 to 50% of East Asian are intolerant to alcohol due to a faulty version of the aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) gene. It may cause flushing on a person's face and body and other symptoms including nausea, headache, and general physical discomfort after drinking alcohol.


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6Turkish Family Mutation

Turkish Family Mutation

One family in Turkey walks on all fours due to a rare syndrome that strikes the areas of the brain that controls balance. This rare mutation prevents proteins from distributing fat molecules correctly in the cells, which leads to defective nerve cells, brain damage, and loss of balance.


7. There is a gene called TAS2R38 and it particularly determines how much you like certain vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli.


8. On experiments with mice researchers discovered that mutation in EDAR370A gene causes thicker hair, smaller mammary fat pads, and more sweat glands. This mutation is found in many East Asians.


9. About 20-40% of the human population does not have the gene that lets people detect the smell of cyanide.


10. A boy in the UK is the only one in the world to have a condition called Hamish Syndrome (which is named after him). This condition causes one of his kidneys to be located in his leg. Both kidneys are fully functional and are believed to be caused by a missing chromosome named 7p22.1


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11Zbtb7 Gene

Zbtb7 Gene

The gene Zbtb7 which is responsible for the proliferation of cancer throughout surrounding cells, was originally named "Pokémon". It is a backronym for "POK erythroid myeloid ontogenic factor." The Pokémon Company threatened legal action because they believed it to be bad press.


12. Some people’s earwax is different from others, and the wetness of it is determined by your 16th chromosome.


13. Some women can have a genetic mutation that causes them to gain a 4th color-vision cone in their eyes, allowing them to see millions of more colors.


14. The river-dwelling Mexican Tetra fish is capable of regenerating its heart tissue with no scarring. The genes that are responsible for this are named iirc10 and caveolin. These genes are also present in in humans. Scientists believe these genes can be activated to regenerate heart tissue in us as well.


15. There is a mutation in the HTR2B gene called "the violent gene" that’s exclusive to Finnish men which makes them way more violent and aggressive than others when intoxicated.


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16Breast Cancer Gene

Breast Cancer Gene

In 1994, scientists were able to isolate a specific mutation of the breast cancer gene BRCA2 after mapping the genome of the entire population of Iceland (just under 335,000 citizens).


17. A young man named Brenden Adams has a unique disorder of the 12th chromosome causing uncontrollable growth during his teenage years and making him grow to 7'8" by the age of 18.


18. ‘Happy Puppet’ syndrome or Angelman Syndrome causes patients to flap their hands uncontrollably and laugh. It is now known to be a genetic disorder resulting from a mutation on chromosome 15. Though the sufferers have a happy demeanor and have easily excitable personality, it is a debilitating disease with symptoms such as microcephaly, seizures and motor problems.


19. About 55% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, most often before a woman misses a menstrual period or even knows she is pregnant. More than 80% of miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy. This is mostly caused by chromosomal abnormalities.


20. In 1962, scientists discovered a limit to how many times human cells can divide before they become exhausted. They also discovered telomeres, which cap the ends of chromosomes and prevent them from fraying. Telomeres shorten each time a cell divides and when they get short enough, a cell stops dividing.


21Female X Chromosomes

Female X Chromosomes

While female X chromosomes get mixed and reshuffled, Y chromosomes get passed down untouched, resulting in the grandfather, father, and son having identical Y chromosomes.


22. Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome causes a person with XY chromosomes externally to develop to be identical to XX girls/women. A vagina is present but no uterus. It is often undetected until a lack of first menstruation is noted.


23. One of the leading hypotheses on why asbestos causes cancer is that it’s extremely thin fibers get physically tangled in your chromosomes, leading to strand breaks and mutations.


24. Exposure to particles from burning candles causes greater damage than the same dose of diesel exhaust fumes. Effects included lung inflammation and toxicity, arteriosclerosis, and aging effects on chromosomes in the lungs and spleen.


25. The Y chromosome has been degenerating over the past 300 million years of its existence, and might one day go extinct. The male gender, however, probably won't.

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