The human body is a marvel of nature and a highly complex machine. Small changes to the design of this “machinery” can have disastrous consequences but sometimes so changes lead to positive and superhuman output.
Here are 7 genetic mutations which have increased the capabilities of the human body.
7. Resistance to Malaria
Malaria is caused by a parasite which invades red blood cells and starts reproducing. In a few days, new parasites burst out of the red blood cell destroying it. This cycle repeats and causes severe blood loss and death if left untreated.
People suffering from sickle cell anemia are resistant to malaria due to the lack of normal red blood cells.Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease without a cure and can be fatal. It is caused when a person inherits two copies of the mutated genes from each parent.
In case the person has only one set of the mutated gene, they still have a high resistance to malaria due to a considerable amount of abnormal red blood cells but not enough to cause sickle cell anemia.
6. Resistance to HIV
Less than 1% of humans show partial resistance to HIV. The main mechanism is a mutation the gene encoding CCR5, which acts as a co-receptor for HIV. HIV uses CCR5 protein as a doorway to enter human cells to infect them. People lacking this gene are highly resistant but not immune because the virus can mutate itself to use another protein.
5. Superior Bone Density
Osteoporosis or bone density loss is a common problem with old age. It makes bones brittle and more prone to fractures. Mutation in the SOST gene, which controls a protein called sclerostin that regulates bone growth. This gene is found in the South African people with Dutch origins and it causes them to gain bone mass throughout their lives instead of losing it. If they inherit two copies of the mutated gene, they develop a disorder called sclerosteosis, which leads to severe bone overgrowth, gigantism, facial distortion, deafness, and early death. If they only inherit one mutated gene, they develop extremely dense bones.
4. Golden Blood
Most people are aware of only eight basic blood types (positive and negative A, AB, B, and O). In actuality, there are currently 35 known blood group systems, with millions of variations in each system. Blood that doesn’t fall into the ABO system is considered rare and makes finding blood for them very challenging. Blood group Rh-null doesn’t have any antigens generally present in the blood and there are only 43 people on earth are known to have this blood. Rh-null blood can be accepted by anyone with a rare blood type in the Rh system, making it “the golden blood,”
3. Less Sleep Required
Most people require 6-8 hours of sleep to maintain physical and psychological health but there are some people who only need to snooze for a few hours. This isn’t a result of training or willpower but due to a rare genetic mutation of the gene DEC2, which causes them to physiologically need less sleep than the average person.
2. High Altitude Adaptability
Over many generations, the bodies of Tibetans and Nepalese developed for compensating for low oxygen levels with bigger chests and greater lung capacities, making it possible for them to inhale more air with each breath.
Bodies of people living in lowlands produce more red blood cells to compensate for low oxygen levels but on the other hand, bodies of people living at higher altitudes produce fewer red blood cells. The excess of red blood cells can thicken blood over time and can lead to clots and other complications. These changes are not temporary but are a result of mutations in a stretch of DNA known as EPAS1.
1. Cholesterol Level
It is known that eating fatty and unhealthy food causes cholesterol level in the blood to rise. This can cause severe cardiac complications but cholesterol level of people who are born without copies of the PCSK9 gene remains virtually non-existent.