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Author Topic:   New Human Mutation
Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 12 (118726)
06-25-2004 4:47 PM


There seems to be a 4 year old that is displaying adult musculature, or at least muscle mass that is well above normal. It turns out that he has a mutation in the gene for myostatin, a protein that shuts off muscle growth. The article can be found here

This message has been edited by Loudmouth, 06-25-2004 03:47 PM


Replies to this message:
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custard
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 12 (118806)
06-25-2004 7:14 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Loudmouth
06-25-2004 4:47 PM


Yeah, this article looked pretty interesting, but I wonder how much media-hype is involved here?

Two parts of the article I found interesting:

quote:
In the mother, one copy of the gene is mutated and the other is normal; the boy has two mutated copies. One almost definitely came from his father, but no information about him has been disclosed. The mutation is very rare in people.

The boy is healthy now, but doctors worry he could eventually suffer heart or other health problems.


I suppose only time will tell if this mutations has no ill effects, but if it doesn't, how will this affect that old creationist argument? The one that goes:
"We have never witnessed a mutation that was beneficial to the organism..."

I also wonder if he is really the first person to have this mutation. From the article it appears his mother and father both have a copy of the mutated gene; he has two copies. It's possible he's not unique (which goes back to my media hype question), even the article refers to the mutation as 'rare,' not unique.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Loudmouth, posted 06-25-2004 4:47 PM Loudmouth has responded

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 Message 3 by Loudmouth, posted 06-25-2004 7:20 PM custard has responded

  
Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 12 (118811)
06-25-2004 7:20 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by custard
06-25-2004 7:14 PM


quote:
I also wonder if he is really the first person to have this mutation. From the article it appears his mother and father both have a copy of the mutated gene; he has two copies. It's possible he's not unique (which goes back to my media hype question), even the article refers to the mutation as 'rare,' not unique.

The article claims that this is the first DOCUMENTED case. There very well could have been other people with this disease. It would make an interesting population study if the family is from an area that tends to marry within the community. Being that both the mother and father carry the mutation seems to point in that direction. Either that, or the mutation is widespread by very rare, hence the first time there has been a homozygous mutant (ick, couldn't think of a better way to phrase it, go X-Men).

What is also curious is that you only need one copy of the myostatin protein to prevent the condition. Also, I didn't mean to propose that this could be a beneficial mutation, only that one mutation can make quite drastic changes to body morphology, although arguably a developmental change in this case.


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 Message 4 by custard, posted 06-25-2004 7:26 PM Loudmouth has responded

  
custard
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 12 (118815)
06-25-2004 7:26 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Loudmouth
06-25-2004 7:20 PM


Right. I read the 'documented' part and it still didn't register. Duh.

Population study would be very interesting. I wonder if the mutation is dominant?

True, the mutation may not end up being beneficial, but it appears that this kid's uncles are uncommonly strong as well - of course who knows if that is just an unqualified observation by the journalist - so maybe one copy of the mutation would be beneficial on its own.

If, ultimately, this does turn out not to have any negative side effects (like Marfan's Syndrome say), then how long do you think it will be before we see genetic tinkering for prospective athletes? Why mess with HGH when you can change the genes themselves.

Very interesting stuff.


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 Message 3 by Loudmouth, posted 06-25-2004 7:20 PM Loudmouth has responded

Replies to this message:
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 Message 6 by Loudmouth, posted 06-25-2004 7:34 PM custard has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30997
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 5 of 12 (118819)
06-25-2004 7:31 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by custard
06-25-2004 7:26 PM


May you live in interesting times.

For me, one of the more interesting things is that this is a recognizable mutaion. Whether or not it is evolution will depend on whether it expands through a population and whether or not that segment of the population survives better.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Lammy, posted 06-28-2004 1:20 PM jar has responded

  
Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 12 (118822)
06-25-2004 7:34 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by custard
06-25-2004 7:26 PM


quote:
Population study would be very interesting. I wonder if the mutation is dominant?

Mutations are not dominant or recessive, alleles are. In this case, it seems to be a recessive allele in that it requires a homozygous recessive to have the full blown syndrome.

quote:
Why mess with HGH when you can change the genes themselves.

Actually, you wouldn't have to mess with the genome for short term effects. All you would have to do is one of three things:

1. Produce a chemical that destroys endogenous myostatin.

2. Produce a chemical that binds to myostatin and prevents it from being effective within muscle.

3. Produce a chemical that binds to myostatin receptors without causing the down-regulation of muscle growth.

Once you have the protein it isn't always necessary to change the DNA sequence.

Also, if the babie's uncles have above average muscle growth it could mean that low levels of myostatin could cause excessive muscle growth. Complete absence may not be needed.


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 Message 4 by custard, posted 06-25-2004 7:26 PM custard has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by custard, posted 06-25-2004 8:23 PM Loudmouth has responded

  
custard
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 12 (118858)
06-25-2004 8:23 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Loudmouth
06-25-2004 7:34 PM


1. Produce a chemical that destroys endogenous myostatin.

Interesting. Do you know if this would work if an adult began taking this type of chemical? Or does it only work at a certain point in the organism's development?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Loudmouth, posted 06-25-2004 7:34 PM Loudmouth has responded

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Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 12 (119526)
06-28-2004 1:14 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by custard
06-25-2004 8:23 PM


quote:
Interesting. Do you know if this would work if an adult began taking this type of chemical? Or does it only work at a certain point in the organism's development?

I would think that adult muscle development and pre-adolescent muscle development are under the control of myostatin. That is, you can add muscle mass throughout your life barring illness. So yes, I think something like this would probably work. However, I haven't researched myostatin very closely but I do believe that it is a protein which would make it difficult to create a protease that selectively destroyed myostatin but left the rest of the proteins in the human body unaltered. The best bet would be a small biomolecule that bound the active site of myostatin or to its receptor without triggering conformational changes in the receptor.


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Lammy
Member
Posts: 3610
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 9 of 12 (119531)
06-28-2004 1:20 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by jar
06-25-2004 7:31 PM


jar writes:

Whether or not it is evolution will depend on whether it expands through a population and whether or not that segment of the population survives better.


In the old days, this kid would probably have mate with every woman in town and have no competition at all, since he could beat the living crap out of all his competitors.


The Laminator


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by jar, posted 06-25-2004 7:31 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Loudmouth, posted 06-28-2004 1:29 PM Lammy has not yet responded
 Message 11 by jar, posted 06-28-2004 2:17 PM Lammy has not yet responded

    
Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 12 (119534)
06-28-2004 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Lammy
06-28-2004 1:20 PM


quote:
In the old days, this kid would probably have mate with every woman in town and have no competition at all, since he could beat the living crap out of all his competitors.

But he would be at a disadvantage if he was unable to run fast enough or far enough to kill game. Even though he could "beat up the competition" he still wouldn't be able to feed his family. Although, he could start stealing . . . many strategies exist. However, there seems to be cardiac problems in connection with larger muscle mass which might end up putting this mutation in the detrimental column.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Lammy, posted 06-28-2004 1:20 PM Lammy has not yet responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30997
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 11 of 12 (119550)
06-28-2004 2:17 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Lammy
06-28-2004 1:20 PM


Depends to some extent on just which muscles are involved. Might give a whole new meaning to "All Rise".


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3883
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 12 of 12 (119812)
06-29-2004 2:09 AM


Thread moved here from the Short Subjects forum.
    
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