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Facts About Genetics

After 13 years of research, the groundbreaking Human Genome Project was published in 2003 by international researchers. According to the website, this project allowed researchers to map out the genetic building blocks of humans for the first time.

Researchers still have much to discover about the tiny segments of DNA that make up human genomes. Humans now have between 20,000 to 25,000 genes. Below are some facts about gene expression and genetic diseases.

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Facts About Genetics

The 20th century was the first time that gene was used.

“Father of genetics,” Gregor Mendel, conducted his pea-plant experiments in the mid-1800s. But it was not until 1909 when Wilhelm Johannsen, a Danish botanist, became the first to describe Mendel’s individual units. They were genes derived from. He also used the Charles Darwin word to describe his now-disproved theory of heredity. Darwin, among other ideas, suggested that inheritable characteristics can be inherited.

All humans are genetically more than 99 percent alike.

We have much more in common with humans than we may think. More than 99.9% of our genes can be found in the same person. In other words, the diversity we see within the human population–including traits like eye color, height, and blood type–is due to genetic differences that account for less than 1 percent. These differences are caused by variations of the same gene (called alleles).

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As species evolve, genes can change or disappear.

A combination of genes allows mammals to produce their Vitamin C in-house. However, Vitamin C was lost in the human race’s history when one of the genes that made it possible stopped working in humans. It is visible in our genome. Mental Floss is told by Dr. Michael Jensen Seaman, a genetics researcher who is also an associate professor in biological sciences at Duquesne University.

“In general, when a species loses an essential gene in evolution, it is usually because they don’t need it. If you don’t use it, it will be lost. Our ancestors likely ate so many fruits that it was not necessary to make Vitamin C.” Jensen Seaman states that humans have lost hundreds of odorant receptors, proteins that are produced by genes that detect specific smells. This is because our eyes rely mainly on vision. This is why humans have a worse sense of smell than other species.

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Elizabeth Taylor’s long, thick eyelashes are likely due to a genetic mutation.

The Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor received two rows of eyes because of a mutation in the FOXC2 gene. This rare condition is distichiasis. While it might seem like a good thing, it can also cause complications. The American Academy of Ophthalmology states that this extra set of eyelashes can sometimes be tolerated and should be removed in order to avoid eye damage.

The genes involved in sperm development are among the fastest evolving genes in the animal kingdom.

A class of genes known as sperm-competition genes is improving their ability to fertilize eggs in a lot of the natural world. This holds true for many species, including primates and sea invertebrates. Think about promiscuous primates like chimpanzees. Their females can mate with multiple males within a relatively short time.

The males are now competing to be the father of offspring at the genetic level via their sperm. Jensen Seaman says, “What’s going on, we believe, is an arms race between genes that are involved either in sperm production or any aspect of male reproduction.” These proteins are changing in order to help males rise up to the occasion.

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Elephants may be protected from cancer by having a “zombie” gene.

A 2018 study by researchers at the University of Chicago revealed that an elephant-specific cancer-suppressing gene was “dead” or not functioning in a previous study. This result was published in. Although they don’t know the exact cause, this “zombie” gene that was reanimated might be what explains why elephants are so resistant to cancer. This is in contrast to the 11 to 25 percent who die from it. One theory is that a drug could be made to imitate the function of this gene to treat cancer in humans.

Octopuses are capable of editing their genes.

Cephalopods such as squids and cuttlefish are intelligent and clever creatures. They can even rewrite their genetic information. Recoding allows one octopus to produce multiple proteins instead of just one. The Washington Post notes that this process is said to help some Antarctic species keep their nerves firing in cold waters.

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The basic idea of the 1986 film The Fly doesn’t seem completely absurd.

Jeff Goldblum transforms into a fly-like creature after a failed experiment in The Fly. Surprisingly, this premise may fly at some genetic level. Although there are many estimates that humans share 52 percent of the same genes as fruit flies, scientists believe the numbers to be roughly the same for houseflies.

So, Jeff Goldblum could theoretically become a hybrid human fly if his genes were mixed with the insects in futuristic teleportation devices. There are scientific parallels. Erica Zahnle, a DNA researcher, tells the Chicago Tribune that genetic engineering allows us to select genes and insert them into other organisms’ genomes. It’s something we do all the time. “A hybrid tomato with a fish gene is currently being developed.”

Your genes could prevent you from living beyond 125 years.

Despite medical advances, it is possible that there is a biological limit to how long we can stay alive. There have been several studies that suggest we may have reached our limit in terms of human lifespan. The range is between 115 to 125 years. This theory states that cells cannot reproduce beyond a certain point and can often be damaged by age. Even if gene therapy can alter our genes, it’s unlikely we can do so quickly enough to make a significant difference. Judith Campisi, from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, says.

“For these reasons, it is not meant to claim that most humans will live 200-500 years in near future, thanks to medical or scientific advancements or that ‘within fifteen years, we’ll add more than one year each year to our remaining lifespan,'” the 2017 study authors write in Frontiers In Physiology. They cite previous studies from 2003 and 2010. It seems a mistake to raise false hopes when we forget that humans are already very ‘optimized for life expectancy.

It is a myth that one gene can determine whether your earlobes are attached or unattached.

You can forget what you learned in middle school about earlobes or genetics. Although your genes may play a role in determining whether or not you have attached earlobes (a dominant trait), the notion that one gene can control this trait is false. Earlobes do not fall under two categories. A third category, identified by John H. McDonald, University of Delaware associate professor, is intermediate ears.

McDonald’s website states that “it doesn’t seem like there are only two categories.” Instead, McDonald says there is continuous variation at the attachment point’s height. Blood type is a better example of a trait that can be controlled by one gene. Jensen Seaman states that the three variants (or alleles) of one gene determine whether you are an A, B or O blood type.

There isn’t any “wanderlust gene” nor “music gene.”

New studies are published now and again that suggests a genetic basis for certain personality traits, preferences, or talents. There was talk in 2015 of a “wanderlust genetic” which inspires people to travel. Several reports also suggested that musical talent may be inherited. The reality isn’t always so straightforward, as with many things in science.

Jensen Seaman says that part of the problem is that we are taught examples of traits controlled by one gene in school. This leads to us believing that all variation can be determined by one gene. “But, other than rare genetic disorders, most of the fascinating things in medicine or human behavior and human variation are complex characteristics.” Complex traits often involve hundreds, if not thousands, of genes as well as environmental factors that you have been exposed to all your life.

The DNA testing kits cannot tell you how smart you are.

Intelligence is a complex trait, much like your personality and talents. It’s hard to measure as it’s affected by many genes. A 2017 study found 52 genes that were associated with intelligence. However, the predictive power of these genes (or ability to predict how smart you will be) is less than 5%. 

A 2018 study identified 538 genes that are associated with intelligence. These genes have a 7 percent predictive ability. No DNA test kit can accurately determine if you are a genius or a dunce, regardless of whether the company claims so. Even if scientists have made improvements in this area of research, DNA testing can’t account for the environmental factors that influence intelligence.

Your genetic makeup will determine whether your pee smells funny after eating asparagus.

Are you averse to the smell of asparagus in your urine? Do you feel the scent of asparagus in your urine after eating? A study that involved nearly 7000 people of European-American heritage was published in The BMJ’s 2016 December issue.  

The BMJ is known for publishing lighthearted and bizarre studies at this time of the year. There is no one gene to blame. Multiple olfactory receptor gene sequences and 871 variations of said genes are involved in determining if you can smell asparagus pee.

Ru is an entertainment nerd who likes to spill the beans about what's happening in the entertainment industry. She comes up with well-researched articles so that you can "Netflix and Chill." Come join her as she has a lot to tell her readers.


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