Thursday, June 16, 2011

We Are All Mutants

Why we are all X-men: Scientists discover 60 new genetic mutations in EVERY person
It might be one fantastical work of science fiction - but researchers have discovered we have more in common with the characters of the X-Men films than we first believe. Scientists have found that each human being has around 60 different mutations in their genes. And although you might lack the superpowers of a character like Wolverine, the results are startling.

Findings by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge and two other institutes in the U.S. and Canada revealed each one of us receives up to 60 mutations in our genome from our parents. It shows that human genomes (our genetic makeup carried on 23 pairs of chromosomes) are mutated in both sperm and egg cells, resulting in changes to our DNA seen in neither parent. The studies also confounded previous theories over whether most mutations came from the mother or father, with results showing that it varied dramatically in each individual...
I'm not shocked.  The human genome has to copy itself nearly perfectly for the daughter cells to continue to function.  The human genome has approximately 3 billion base pairs, each of which provides an opportunity for an error in replication.  The fact that only 60 get carried forward after reproduction is pretty remarkable fidelity for an essentially chemical process.  Two errors in 100 million copies is pretty remarkable.  I should tipe so well.

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