One of our flaws as humans is our tendency to think we know everything. When something doesn’t turn out how we expected, we’re often caught by surprise. What do we know about the genes that determine who we are and what we look like?
Genes are sections or segments of DNA that determine specific human characteristics, such as height or hair color.
A gene mutation is a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene and differs from most people. Here are instances when these genes have proved to be real pranksters:
1. Heterochromia is a fancy way of saying that your eyes are two different colors. According to medicinenet.com, approximately 6 out of 1000 will inherit heterochromia, and only a handful of them will have it be visibly noticeable.
2. The Mallen streak, or poliosis, is a patch or streak of hair completely without pigment that you acquire from birth. This mutation decreases melanin in the hair, writes healthline.com, and can affect eyebrows and eyelashes as well.
3. Distichiasis, or double eyelashes, is a dominant trait that’s passed down directly from a parent to future generations, writes the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
4. Medscape states Anisocoria is a common condition in which a person has unequal pupil sizes, which can often make people look like they have two different colored eyes when they don’t.
5. Werewolf syndrome is the nickname of the mutation Hypertrichosis, which causes a person to be born with excess hair, states medicalnewstoday.com.
6. Webbed toes or even fingers, typically discovered at birth, occur when there is excess skin between a person’s digits. Also known as Syndactyly, it’s when the digits become fused together. According to Medscape, this rare occurrence happens to 1 in every 2,000-3,000 babies.
7. Here’s a great example of genes being quite the pranksters. According to the Daily Mail, Maria and Lucy Aylmer, bi-racial twins in the UK, were born with completely different appearances.
8. For tired parents, or teenagers pulling all-nighters to finish their latest assignments, this next genetic anomaly might sound like a dream come true. Usually diagnosed in adolescence, short sleepers syndrome (SSS) means you’re genetically wired to survive off less sleep than others, says sleepeducation.org.
9. According to healthline.com, cleft chins are an inherited trait caused when the two halves of the jaw bone (or muscle) don’t quite fuse properly during development.
10. We’ve all heard that fingerprints are unique to each individual – so what does it mean when you’re born with no fingerprints at all? This rare genetic condition, known as Adermatoglyphia, is characterized by the lack of ridges on the skin of the fingers, toes, palms of the hand and soles of the feet, states the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Centre.
11. According to a study published in the Journal of Vision, roughly 12% of women have tetrachromatic “supervision,” a mutation which allows them to see an increased range of colors undetectable by most people.
12. Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 is one of the genes that control your bone density. According to medicaldaily.com, a mutation in this gene can cause the gene to ramp up bone density to a point where they’re nearly impossible to break, hence the term “unbreakable bones.”
13. Polydactyly is the condition of having supernumerary digits, whether it’s fingers or toes. According to seattlechildrens.org, a person with polydactyly of the feet may even have a fully functional extra toe.
14. Another example of genes being quite the pranksters is Nyle DiMarco and his ginger-haired, fair-skinned twin, Nico. Nyle is an American model, actor, and the first deaf winner on Dancing With the Stars. Nyle shares a love of dance with his twin brother, Nico, but other than that the two look nothing alike.
15. Dubbed “double muscle mutation,” this mutation in the myostatin gene can cause both animals and humans to have increased strength confirms the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
16. According to IFLScience, about 5% of people actually have a tiny hole near their ear, a hereditary birth defect first documented by scientist Van Heusinger in 1864. Back when living things had gills, a nodule, dent or dimple located anywhere adjacent to the external ear was common and this trait still comes up from time to time.
17. Marfan.org describes Marfan syndrome as a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. People with Marfan syndrome tend to be extremely flexible, and the degree of the condition will vary from person to person. People with Marfan tend to be tall and have elongated limbs.
Because every person has about 25,000 different genes, the number of possible combinations is numerous.
On top of these endless possibilities, we’re also susceptible to these genetic anomalies or mutations as seen above.
But although there are so many combination possibilities and anomalies that separate us, it’s the guarantee that no two people are completely the same that remains a commonality among humans. There is no one else out there exactly like you (just like everyone else) so embrace what makes you unique!