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Rare Genetic Features That You Probably Don't Have

Updated June 13, 2019 6.3m views17 items

Everyone has a unique combination of genetic features that differentiate them from the rest of the population, guaranteeing that no two people are exactly alike. Many have rare mutations that give them abilities or physical features that most people don’t share. Genetic mutations are a vital part of evolution, and they can lead to differences that provide advantages as well as disadvantages.

Mutations in humans are extremely rare, and you probably don't have one, but those who do may have super strength, unbreakable bones, or striking physical features. Genetic abnormalities can lead to exceptional physical qualities that make those who have them particularly unique. Distinctive makeups in DNA give people unusual conditions that can be beneficial but may also cause complications.

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  • Some Folks Don't Need To Worry About High Cholesterol Or Heart Disease.

    In 2004, scientists discovered some people who are missing working copies of the gene PCSK9. While missing genes can lead to defects or deficiencies, this missing gene actually has a very beneficial trait: Those without functioning PCSK9 genes don't need to worry about high cholesterol. Pharmaceutical companies jumped on the discovery and quickly began working on drugs to block functioning PCSK9 genes in patients with dangerously high cholesterol. 

    Only a handful of African Americans are known to possess the genetic mutation. People with this mutation have a 90% reduced risk of heart disease.

  • It's Not A Piercing

    A preauricular sinus is a congenital condition that causes a small hole or dimple to develop on the outer ear. It is usually found at the top of the ear where it connects to the side of the head. Most of the time it's completely harmless, but it can make those who have it slightly more susceptible to infection.

    It's not particularly common in the West, where it is found in less than 1% of the population, but it's less rare in Asia and Africa where around four to 10% of the population have this mutation.

  • Marfan Syndrome Makes Your Ligaments Stretch Out

    Marfan syndrome affects the body's connective tissue, and the degree to which this genetic disorder affects people varies. People with Marfan syndrome are often tall, lanky, and have elongated limbs. For those severely affected, the disorder can affect the heart, eyes, blood vessels, and skeleton; it can cause bones to dislocate easily, extra strain on the aorta, and an early onset of arthritis.

    In a milder form of the disease, ligaments grow long and stretchy, which can cause hypermobility, especially in the hands and wrist. Roughly one in 5,000 people are born with this genetic mutation.  

  • These Amish People Will Probably Live Longer Than The Rest Of Us

    In 2017, scientists discovered a mutation in the SERPINE1 gene among members of the Berne Amish community in Indiana. This gene lowers the level of PAI-1 in the body of those with the mutation. PAI-1 is found in higher concentrations in people with diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

    Evidence suggests that the SERPINE1 mutation has two effects: it stops clots from forming in blood vessels and starts a process known as senescence. Senescence essentially puts cells into a form of suspended animation, which prevents them from being destroyed or damaged. The end result is that those carrying the mutation can live for up to 10 years longer, and they suffer from chronic illnesses such as heart disease at a much lower rate.