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13 Facts About Genes | Mental floss

In 2003, after 13 years of study, international researchers working on the groundbreaking Human Genome Project published their findings. For the very first time, the genetic building blocks that make up humans were mapped out. Humans are now known to have had 20,000 and 25,000 genes. Below, we've listed a few facts about gene expression, genetic diseases, and ways to make us who are we.

1. The word gene which was not co-ordinated until the 20th century.

Although Gregor Mendel conducted his experiments in the mid-1800s, it was not until 1909 that Danish botanist Wilhelm Johannsen became the first person to describe Mendel's individual units of heredity. He called them genes -derived from pangenesis the word Charles Darwin used for his now-disproven theory of heredity (among other ideas, Darwin suggested that acquired characteristics could be inherited). [1

9659002]. 2 On a genetic level, all humans are more than 99 percent identical.

Humans have a lot more in common than we might be inclined to believe. In fact, more than 99 percent of our genes are exactly the same from one person to the next. In other words, the diversity in the human population-including traits like eye color, height, and blood type-is due to genetic differences that account for less than 1 percent. [194559006] are responsible for these differences.

3. Genes can disappear or break as species evolve.

In a nutshell, so to speak. In the past few years, people have long since lost their ability to make Vitamin C. "You can see it in our genome. We are missing helped the gene, "Dr. Michael Jensen-Seaman, a genetic researcher and associate professor of biological sciences at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, tells Mental Floss. "Generally speaking, when a species loses a gene during evolution, it's usually because they do not need it and if you do not use it, you loose it. "Jensen-Seaman says Humans are lost hundreds of odorant receptors because of the fact that they detect their own vitamin C." This explains why our sense of smell is worse than many other species.

4. Elizabeth Taylor's voluminous eyelashes were caused by a genetic mutation.

A mutation of the aptly named FOXC2 gene gave Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor two rows of eyelashes. The technical term for this rare disorder is distichiasis and while it may seem like a desirable problem, there can be complications. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, this article is sometimes "fine and well tolerated, but in other cases it should be removed to prevent eye damage."

Genes involved in sperm are some of the most rapidly evolving genes in the animal kingdom.

Sperm competition genes are becoming better and better at fertilizing eggs. This is true for various species, including some primates and marine invertebrates. Consider promiscuous primates, like chimpanzees, whose females mate with multiple males in a short period of time. As a result, the males are competing at the genetic level via their sperm-to-father offspring. "What's happening, we think there's an assortment of genes that are involved in either sperm production or any aspect of male reproduction," Jensen-Seaman says. Essentially, the proteins in these genes are changing to help with the occasion.


In a 2018 study published in Cell Reports researchers from the University of Chicago found that it was a copy of a cancer-suppressing gene previously "dead" (or non-functioning) in elephants turned back on at some point. They may not have understood why, but this has reanimated "zombie genes" might explain why elephants have low rates of cancer-just 5 percent from the disease, compared to 11 to 25 percent of humans. Some have suggested that a drug could theoretically be used to mimic the function of this gene in order to treat cancer in humans.

7. Octopuses can edit their own genes.

Cephalopods like squids, cuttlefish, and octopuses are incredibly intelligent and wily creatures-so much so they can rewrite the genetic information in their neurons. Instead of one gene coding for one protein, which is usually the case, one process called Recognition One Octopus gene produce multiple proteins. Scientists discovered that this process helps some Antarctic species "keep their nerve firing in the waters of the river," The Washington Post notes.

8. The Fly The Fly is not completely absurd.

The Fly Jeff Goldblum morphs into a fly-like creature. Surprisingly, that premise might, uh, fly-at least on some genetic level.

So, Jeff Goldblum could theoretically turn into a human- and human-like relationship. fly hybrid if his genes got mixed up with the insects in a futuristic teleportation device? Not exactly, but there are some scientific parallels. "Genetic engineering, we can select genes and insert them into other organisms", "DNA researcher Erica Zahnle the Chicago Tribune . "We do it all the time. Right now there's a hybrid of a tomato that has a fish in it. "

9. 125 years.

Despite advances in medicine, there may well be a biological cap on how long humans can stick around. Several studies have suggested that we have peaked, with the maximum extent for human life falling between 115 and 125 years. According to this theory, cells can only replicate so many times, and they often become damaged with age. Judith Campisi from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging tells The Atlantic .

"For such reasons, it is meaningless to claim that most human will live for 200-500 years in the near future, thanks to medical or scientific progress, or that within 15 years, we'll be more than a year every year to our remaining life expectancy, "the authors of a 2017 study write in Frontiers in Physiology citing previous studies from 2003 and 2010, respectively. "Raising false hopes without taking into account that human beings are already extremely 'optimized' for lifespan seems inappropriate."


Forget what you may have learned about earlobes and genetics in middle school. Aloof (adjective) (adjective) (adjective) (adjective) earlobes (a supposedly dominant trait) or unattached earlobes, the idea that this trait is controlled by a single gene is simply untrue. On top of that, earlobes do not even fall into two distinct categories. There's also a third, which University of Delaware associate professor John H. McDonald calls intermediate earlobes . McDonald writes on his website. "It does not look to me as if there are just two categories; A better example of a trait controlled by a single gene is blood type. Whether you have A, B, or O blood type is determined by three variations-or alleles-of one gene, according to Jensen-Seaman.

11. No, there is not a "wanderlust gene" or "music gene."

Every now and then, new studies will come out of the sea to suggest a genetic source for various personality traits, preferences, or talents. In 2015, there was talk of a "wanderlust gene" that inspires certain people to travel, and several other stories have been inherited. However, like many things in science, reality is not so simple. Mendel's peas, and we start to think that all is determined by a single gene, "Jensen-Seaman says. What are the main types of genetic disorders that are involved in the treatment of human disease or human variation? well as the environmental factors you are exposed to throughout your life.


Much like your talents and personality, intelligence is so complex that it's difficult to measure because of it's many different genes. One 2017 study identified 52 genes associated with higher or lower intelligence, but the predictive power of those genes-or smart-to-know skills are-less than 5 percent. Another study from 2018 identified 538 genes associated with intelligence, which have a 7 percent predictive power. Put simply, no DNA testing kit can accurately predict whether or not you are genius or dunce, even if the company claims it can. And, even if they make this field of study, DNA tests can not account for the environmental factors.


Do you recoup from the scent of your urine after eating asparagus? If so, you're among the nearly 40 percent of those who testify to the smell of metabolized asparagus in pee, according to a study of nearly 7,000 people of European-American descent that was published in The BMJ 's 2016 Christmas issue. ( The BMJ has an annual tradition of publishing strange and light-hearted studies around this time of year, and the asparagus pee study is no exception.) Again, there is not one gene in particular to pin the blame on, though. Multiple olfactory receptor genes-and 871 sequence variations on said genes are involved in determining whether or not they have a talent for sniffing out asparagus pee.

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