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Five genetic benefits that most people don't have

November 17, 2018 20:27
Updated November 17, 2018 20:41

Science fiction is replete with superheroes who have supernatural gifts. But the truth is that some ordinary people also have special powers and often do not know.

We are talking about the genetic advantages that a very small part of the population has.

These benefits arise from a genetic mutation, a natural process that changes our DNA.

Just as some inherit genetic diseases, others have more luck and inherit genes that give them unusual abilities.

Here we give you five examples of some of the benefits you could get from your genes.

1. Perfect underwater vision

Most of us see everything blurry if we open our eyes when we dive into the water.

This is related to the problem of physics: the density of water is similar to that of an eye’s liquid, and the refracted light cannot penetrate the eye well.

This is why people usually see well when we are in contact with air.

If you open your eyes under water, you will see that everything is blurry. If you do not have moken blood | Istock

But there is one exception: the people of Mokena who inhabit the Andaman Sea, the Indian Ocean sector between Burma and Thailand.

This tribe is known as the "gypsies of the sea" because they spend most of the year living in huts on the water or in boats, and only go to the ground to stock up on supplies.

If you have moken genes, you can see crystal clear under water.

It is believed that this genetic mutation arose due to the fact that Moken is spending a lot of time under water, collecting food from the seabed and a spear trap on the bottom of the sea.

A scientific study, published in 2003 in the journal Current Biology, showed that the genetic mutation of Moken causes their eyes to change shape under water.

This allows you to properly reflect the light when it hits the eyes and allows you to see clearly, even when submerged to a depth of more than 20 meters below the water level.

2. Tolerance to cold

Another genetic advantage observed in some indigenous peoples is the ability to withstand low temperatures.

Most of us won't last long in Igloo | GETTY IMAGES

The human body has a normal temperature range, which ranges between 36.5 and 37.5. That is why most people are better prepared to fight a hot climate than a cold climate.

Normal body can not withstand extreme cold. But there are some populations that have this ability, thanks to their special genes.

Tribes, such as the Inuits inhabiting the Arctic, or the Nenets living in northern Russia, have adapted to freezing temperatures.

Their bodies react differently to the cold, because they are biologically composed differently than others.

For example, they do not shiver from the cold, they have less sweat glands, their skin is much warmer than usual, and their metabolism has much higher rates.

These skills are purely genetic: if you go to the middle of the North Pole and live there for decades, you will not get the incredible possibilities of the people who carry these mutations.

3. Less hours of sleep

One skill you could have, without belonging to any tribe, should work well with fewer hours of sleep than usual.

Several studies have shown that most people need to sleep between 7 and 9 hours to feel rested.

Experts recommend 8 hours of sleep … if you do not have this genetic mutation | Istock

Sleeping less can cause problems of concentration and health, both physical and mental.

However, a study with twins in 2014 led to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine discovering that there is a genetic mutation that allows some people to need less hours of sleep.

People with a mutated DEC2 gene have the ability to have more intense REM sleep, which makes their rest more efficient.

With 6 hours of sleep or less, you feel completely rested and ready to meet the day.

However, experts explain that this mutation affects a very small proportion of people – less than 1% of those who report little sleep.

That is why if you sleep a little and you think that everything will be alright, because perhaps you have a genetic mutation, it’s more likely that it’s not, and you need more hours of rest.

4. Dense bones

This advantage seems to come from the superhero comics. Character can be called "a man or a woman with strong bones."

Most of our skeletons lose bone density and mass as we grow older. It is known as osteoporosis and can generate bone fractures and deformities.

We all suffer from the wear and tear of our bones due to osteoporosis … except for them | Istock

But there are some people who have a mutation in a gene called SOST, which controls sclerostin protein, which regulates and controls bone growth.

A study by research scientists at Chiroscience in Botella, Washington showed that those with this mutation do not lose bone mass as they mature.

Their bones continue to accumulate density and mass over time, giving them the skeleton of a much younger person.

This mutation has been found in some people of Afrikaner origin, since there are known Dutch populations living in South Africa.

Scientists are now looking for ways to reproduce this mutation to allow other people to reverse the aging of their skeletons.

5. Adaptation to heights

Andean communities call it “soroche”, and anyone who has suffered it will not easily forget about it. This is a discomfort that is felt at high altitudes due to lack of oxygen.

This absolute disease or altitude sickness usually causes dizziness, low pressure, headache and respiratory disorders.

There are many tricks that should be avoided: move slowly, eat a little, do not make great efforts, chew coca. Some resort to drugs. But the truth is that even so many apunados are falling.

You suffer, carrying your little backpack, and a Sherpa, full of suitcases, passes by you, as if nothing … we explain how they do it | GETTY IMAGES

However, this is not a problem that affects the population living in the mountains.

Studies conducted on the Quechua from the Andes and the Tibetan Himalayas have shown that they have genetic advantages that allowed them to adapt to their environment.

Their torsos are larger and have a larger lung capacity, which allows them to include more oxygen with each inspiration.

And although most people produce more red blood cells, when their bodies receive little oxygen, they produce less.

These characteristics persist even when these populations move to lower places, as they are part of their genes.

Perhaps this mutation does not officially make them “superheroes,” but more than a tourist who struggles to climb the mountain at an ant’s pace and catch up with a place that runs up – sometimes with a few bags – of course, he really thinks that they have there are super powers.

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