ScienceMutants: Movie Trope or Shocking Reality?

Mutants: Movie Trope or Shocking Reality?


Remember how Wolverine, Mystique, and other Marvel superheroes fought a battle against robots who were programmed and designed in a way to hunt and erase the existence of mutants in the movie “X-Men: Days of Future Past”?

Sounds like something that would never happen in real life right? 

Photo by: Sangharsh Lohakare/Unsplash

Now, what if I say that mutants do exist for real? You would probably not believe me. I would not have trusted this myself if I had remained aloof from what was happening around the world when I was busy sipping my coffee. But thankfully not.

Now the DNA of every person shows some of the other kinds of mutation. No human being is ever born without it. It depends on what kind of mutation that person is exposed to. Nevertheless, some mutation exists in human beings, and plants never cease to amaze me.

In the words of OMRF (Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation) scientist Dr. Chris Sansam, mutants are actually extremely common; someone without mutation would be the real anomaly. To understand it more clearly, let’s dive into the details, shall we?

What is Mutation?

Pretty sure when I mention the word mutant, the forever favorite Charles Xavier and Quicksilver come to mind. Isn’t it? Well, same. What made them the way they were? In fiction, of course.

It was a genetic mutation. Ever heard of it?

Mutations are the basis of evolution. Mutations can be defined as changes to a person’s genetic code. And they can come from exposure to any external environmental factor, such as cigarette smoke or radiation, or through genes.

What Causes Mutation? 

Mutations are structural and evolving changes in a person’s DNA, which may or may not affect the person negatively. They can come about from exposure to any external environmental factor, such as radiation, chemicals, viruses, or other environmental factors.

Mutations can be beneficial or harmful depending on their effect on the organism. In humans, mutations have been associated with many diseases, including cancer.

Mutation in plants is a tad bit different from mutations in human beings. However, with science’s progress, artificial mutation has been possible over the years. We need to look at what makes a mutant strain different from its parent.

The first thing to consider is how the mutation was introduced. If scientists created the mutation through selective breeding, then this means that scientists chose the parents based on specific traits. Selective breeding increases the chances of producing offspring with desired traits.

If radiation caused the mutation, then offspring would inherit the mutation. Radiation causes damage to DNA, which leads to mutation.

Types of Mutations

There are a lot of different mutations that can occur in DNA. 

a) Allelic Mutations

These are caused by changes in the DNA sequence of a gene. It may result in a change in the function of the protein product.

b) Epistatic Mutations

These are genetic mutations that cause a change in the phenotype (physical appearance) of a trait.

c) Genic Mutations

These are mutations that affect the structure of genes.

d) Heterozygous Mutations

These only affect one copy of a gene.

e) Homozygous Mutations

These are mutations that affect both copies of a gene.

How Do We Inherit Mutations? 

Each of our genes may be copied from either our mother or our fathers. If there is a mutation in one of these genes, it may be passed on from parent to kid in conjunction with the remainder of their genes.

Small transmissible changes will create massive variations in our bodies. For instance, the foremost common mutation to cause cystic fibrosis? The loss of 3 letters in a very cistron known as CFTR.

Even though mutation is common, transmissible diseases square measure comparatively rare. It can often result from transmissible diseases square measure often recessive, which implies that someone should have 2 copies of the mutated cistron to induce the disorder. 

Genetic Mutations

A genetic mutation occurs when a gene changes its DNA sequence. A change in DNA sequence can change the protein’s function produced by that gene.

Here’s a real-life example.

Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM)

Photo by: Gage Skidmore/Openverse

You could have a memory issue with the details of the late-1970s TV program Taxi. However, Marilu Henner, the star, certainly does not. Not simply because it had been her most notable role, but rather because of a condition she inherited.

Referred to as hyperthymesia, or the flexibility to recall each small and stupid detail from her life through decades. Mind you, every minute detail.

Marilu is simply one among 25 confirmed hyperthymesia cases that permit her to pinpoint the littlest details of her life on nearly any given day. She told basics that formation through her memory is comparable to viewing little videos moving together once someone provides her with a date or year. She sees these very little motion picture montages, primarily on time, scrolling through them and flashing.

While some scientists theorize hyperthymesia as the result of associate neurotic got to review and so renew one’s recollections perpetually, there’s additionally a physiological link within which the lobe and basal ganglion of the brain area unit found to be enlarged within the afflicted.

Marfan Syndrome

Even if you do not apprehend the name Javier Botet, the chances are high that you have seen his work if you are a horror motion picture fan. Javier was the skeletal creature at the tip of the Spanish horror film REC, the titular character in Mama, set within the 2017 remake of the mother, and Slender Man within the 2018 motion picture of constant name.

As you see within the take, a look at footage on top of Mama, tons is finished makeup and CGI, it’s no replacement for the spookiness that comes from somebody with the flexibility to bend themselves in ungodly positions.

Botet incorporates a genetic condition called Marfan syndrome that affects animal tissue throughout the body. Folks with Marfan tend to be outstandingly tall, with long limbs and fingers, and have abnormal flexibility.

Marfan could be a spectrum of unwellness, which means severe cases will result in grave defects within the heart and alternative organs. However, those with mild symptoms will live a traditional, complete, healthy life.

Can an Ordinary Person Become a Mutant?

In a real-world scenario, a mutant is simply a biological entity that shows characteristics which is hard to explain or cannot easily be understood by the forebearers.

The mutation can range from a simple change in skin color to the ability to alter reality itself. Vouching for this, generations of nearly identical brown bears in arctic areas suddenly and randomly produced offspring with white fur.

Remember Jean Grey from X-Men? The telepath mutant. She achieved her evolved superpower after a space explosion in The Dark Phoenix. It was safe to conclude it was due to radiation and the fictional X-gene.

Unlike in Hollywood, mutations do not offer superpowers like X-ray vision or the facility to regenerate our limbs like Deadpool, but these genetic changes will still prove helpful.

Effects of Mutation

A majority of mutations have neither positive nor negative effects on an organism. They are known as neutral mutation. Nevertheless, a mutation can have a significant effect on an organism. The evolution takes place when many single and small mutations occur to make it noticeable. 

Photo by: National Cancer Institute/Unsplash

Some beneficial and harmful effects of mutations are listed below.

Beneficial Mutations

Some mutations have a positive impact on the organism during which they occur. They are known as helpful mutations. They result in new versions of proteins that facilitate organisms to adapt to changes in their setting.

Beneficial mutations are needed for evolution to happen. They increase the nursing organism’s possibilities of extant or reproducing so that they can become common over time. There are many well-known samples of helpful mutations. Here are simply two:

  1. Mutations in several bacteria enable them to survive within the presence of antibiotic medicine. The mutations result in antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacterium.
  2. Scientists discovered that the natives of a specific community in Italia appeared not to develop coronary artery disease, the build-up of fats, and cholesterin on artery walls. When analyzing blood samples, researchers determined that this cluster of individuals all shared a standard change (almost definitely from a standard ancestor) that created them immune to artery-hardening diseases. 

Harmful Mutations

Imagine creating a random amendment in a complex machine like an automobile engine. The amendment is much additional possible to end in an automobile that does not run well or maybe does not run in the slightest degree. The prospect that the random amendment would improve the functioning of the automobile is shallow.

By an equivalent token, any random amendment during a gene’s deoxyribonucleic acid will probably end in a macromolecule that does not perform commonly or might not perform in the slightest degree. Such mutations are possible to be harmful. Harmful mutations might cause genetic disorders or even cancer.

A sickness, genetic abnormality, genetic defect, congenital disease, inherited disease, inherited disorder, hereditary disease, or hereditary condition might be a disease caused by a mutation in one or many genes.

One example is CF. A mutation that during a single sequence causes the body to provide thick, sticky mucous secretion that clogs the lungs and blocks ducts in biological process organs. 

Cancer may be a disorder during which cells grow out of management and make plenty of abnormal cells. It is typically caused by mutations in genes that regulate the cell cycle. Due to the mutations, cells with broken deoxyribonucleic acid are allowed to divide while not being limited. Cancer genes are heritable.

You have continuously detected that you would like eight hours of sleep an evening. And that is sensible advice from the general public. But some individuals out there need way less, and their reason is genetic.

University of California, San Francisco researchers conducting genetic tests on sleep-test participants situated a mother and a female offspring sharing a distinctive attribute. They both carry an abnormal copy of a cistron called DEC2 that affects the biological sleep time. As a result, they are “short sleepers” who would like way less sleep than a typical person. It can be a genetic disposition that will affect the maximum amount of 5% of the population.

Superhuman Strength

When you think about genetic disorders, physical frailty may well be something you will imagine. However, genetic disorders also exist on the opposite facet of the bell curve that leads to divine strength, which looks to be the case with Liam Hoekstra.

United Nations agency created headlines in 2009 about the “World’s Strongest Kid,” Liam Hoekstra.

Liam Hoekstra incorporates a rare genetic condition within which his body blocks the protein myostatin, which inhibits muscle growth. Peoples with this deficiency tend to own a lot of larger muscles with very little body fat, an inherent super strength!

While Liam does not seem to boast any incredible car-tossing strength, he is naturally more potent than all his peers while not doing any coaching. The sole drawback to his condition is that he should eat over most to keep up with his body.

Are You A Mutant?

We can approve of the fact that the idea of being a mutant is mind-blowing. Here are 4 things that you can see for yourself and decide if you are a mutant or not;

  1. Endurance: The ability to adhere to a task without giving up and finishing it without much problem. 
  2. Flexibility: Apart from being a contortionist or gymnast, you know what it is if you have unreal flexibility.  
  3. Strength: Do you pick weights in the gym like flowers off the ground? If yes, congratulations; maybe you were a mutant all along.
  4. Durability: The ability to withstand inhuman pressure, pain, damage, etc.

These do not mean that you are necessarily mutant but strong. Regardless of this, you can always look out for your DNA sequence. 

Mutations | Genetics | Biology | FuseSchool

Mutants do exist, but they must not necessarily have a superpower or a superhuman strength as they are expected to. Yet they can be the reason for a change in a person’s physical appearance or give a unique ability.

Every individual has a certain amount of original mutations in their genome. So every person you know is a mutant. 

Right? Perhaps. You be the judge. It is an incredible world, after all. 


Javeria Najam
Javeria Najam
Content Writer



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