It’s never a dull moment when it comes to talking about DNA and what we acquire from each parent. Genetic anomalies or mutations are both strange and beautiful. Although all of these anomalies are considered mutations, there’s absolutely nothing mutant about them! We aren’t talking about X-Men here, but we are talking about why people have lighter eyes or hair and even some unique qualities that nearly make them super-human!
Some of the anomalies parents will encounter today are downright jaw dropping, and not in the good way! These genetic marvels are fascinating, but that doesn’t necessarily mean parents would voluntarily acquire them. Sometimes you can’t see a genetic mutation, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Mutations are hidden in the DNA and some are hidden beneath the surface, causing our bodies to react a certain way rather than look a certain way. For example, someone who needs less sleep.
Some of the other genetic anomalies explored below are stunning, even sought after! Take red hair for example, only about 10 percent of the populations are true redheads, it’s a mutation that causes it, but it’s no less beautiful or desired, there are plenty of women out there who don the fiery locks, even if it isn’t their natural colour.
We love the allure of these different and rare features and traits because if we were all exactly alike, the world would be a very boring place. Thank goodness we have these genetic variances to stir up the pack, making the human race an intriguing and diverse species.
15 Red Is Rare
The Ginger Gene, as some affectionately call it, is actually quite difficult to be gifted with! Even if both parents have red hair, that doesn’t necessarily mean the child will win the red hair lottery as well. Being a recessive gene, the gene that causes red hair can lay dormant for generations before one mystery red-head pops into the equation.
It may seem like a red-headed child came out of nowhere, but that’s just evidence of how rare it is to witness a redhead in a gene pool.
This genetic anomaly creates beautiful fiery hair, but also, most redheads are known to be paler with freckles. Their delicate skin can soak up vitamin D more efficiently, but can also suffer much damage if out in the sun too long. This is a great trait if you live somewhere with very little sunshine, not so great if you live in say, the tropics.
14 Green Envy
Mirror Mirror on the wall, did you know green eyes are the rarest of them all? Well it’s true! Only about 2 percent of the world’s population has green eyes and green eyes are even rarer amongst males. It’s hard to believe that only a select few have this stunning eye colour, so if you’re one of them, consider yourself one lucky ducky!
It is said that the entire human race started out with only brown eyes, and that blue, green, hazel, violet, and so on, are all mutations from our original eye colour, brown. Most people who have green eyes are typically of Celtic or German ancestry, with green eyes being the most common in Ireland.
As dazzling as they are, green eyes are also the most sensitive to light and can be at an increased risk of eye conditions, so cover those green peepers and protect them from the sun.
This is just a fancy way of saying that your eyes are two different colours. The fascinating look used to be thought strange, but with celebrities such as Mila Kunis and Kate Bosworth and the late David Bowie, embracing their hybrid eyes, people have found it to be a thing of beauty, rather than something to hide.
There are a three types of Heterochromia, the first being two completely different coloured eyes, such as one blue one brown, the second is having one eye with two colours in it, almost like the eye is divided into two parts, and the third occurrence is when there is a distinctly different colour around the iris, giving the eye a halo effect.
Approximately six out of a thousand will inherit heterochromia, only a handful of them will have it be visibly noticeable. Some people may not even notice it themselves, since their eyes can be slight variations of the same colour, for example one brown eye is lighter than the other.
12 Blue Eyes
Blue eyes aren’t really seen as much of an oddity, but considering we all came from ancestors with brown eyes, there’s some mystery to them. There is still much debate on why blue eyes became more common. Since all our linages had brown eyes at one time, what turned eyes this light hue?
One side of the debate says that it was necessity, that if you live somewhere with a lack of sunlight, you need lighter eyes to absorb as much as possible. The other side of the debate says that blue eyed people all stem from one common ancestor, since it is near impossible for two blue eyed parents to produce a brown eyed child.
In order to have blue eyes, the mutation causes the production of melanin to halt, and this is why the eyes are diluted to a lighter shade. So it’s a lack of something rather than the addition of something in the genes that cause this beautiful mutation.
11 Double Eyelashes
This very rare mutation, also known as distichiasis, really doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world, it sure would save people a few dollars from buying false lashes, getting lash extensions and purchasing expensive mascaras wouldn’t it? In fact, Elizabeth Taylor, known for her super thick luxurious lashes had this very mutation, hence proving mutations can be glamourous!
Distichiasis is a dominant trait, so if you have it, that means it was passed down directly from a parent, and future generations will have this same trait. It’s definitely not a very obvious mutation, as some people have very light lashes, so this mutation can even go unnoticed. It may just appear like you have extra lashes. The only downside is if the lashes begin to grow towards the eye, which would make the eye irritated until the awkward inward lashes were removed. Easy fix for a lifetime of lushes lash!
10 Freckles, Moles & Birthmarks
These dots and spots say a lot about your skin, for example the more freckles you have, the more prone to sun damage. There’s also something interesting that you may not know about your freckles, they’re signs of some redhead genes in your family.
Freckles and redheads go hand in hand, so if you have them, and you’re not a redhead, you can thank your redheaded ancestors for the pretty speckles. It’s funny that the same gene that causes red hair causes freckles, but that doesn’t mean all redheads have freckles, genetics, they’re funny that way…
Moles and birthmarks are different in that they don’t really hide in the genetic code; they’re directly passed down from parents. So if your mom has a mole or birthmark, you’ll most likely have a similar mole or birthmark on your body. My kids, the lucky ducky’s they are, inherited the birthmarks from both their parents.
When it comes to moles, they can be lovely in the Marilyn Monroe sense, but it’s important to constantly check them for sun damage, much like freckles, they are sensitive to the sun.
9 Unbreakable Bones
This might sound like the stuff superheroes are made of, especially one like Wolverine, who’s essentially indestructible, but it’s actually a cool genetic mutation that makes your bones super strong! This rare mutation takes what usually makes our bones weak when suffering from something like osteoporosis and turns it right on its head.
The hope is that researching this mutation may help those with brittle bones be cured someday.
The occurrence of these strong bones is known as sclerosteosis and occurs when a LRP5 mutation is present. Protein 5 becomes more abundant, making bones near indestructible. Imagine being able to walk away from a car accident without injuring bones? Crazy right?
That being said there are a few potential downsides to this cool mutation, one is that it could put pressure on the brain and cause hearing loss, and that swimming is no longer an option! Having strong bones also makes you heavier, which, in turn, makes you more likely to sink.
8 Cleft Chin
The cleft chin, also known as the dimpled chin or superhero chin is considered a dominant gene. This handsome attribute occurs when the two halves of the jaw bone don’t fuse properly during development. It’s hard to believe this is considered a genetic mutation when it is so closely linked to what is considered beautiful in society, especially on men.
Genetically, more men have this mutation than women anyway. This is also not a dominant gene, so if both parents have a cleft chin, it doesn’t necessarily mean their children will have cleft chins. What is also interesting is that cleft chins aren’t all the same; they come in many shapes and sizes.
The depth of the cleft for example varies from chin to chin, so each chin is quite unique in its formation. Some of the most swoon-worthy clefts belong to Ben Affleck, Jude Law, and Henri Cavill, Superman himself!
7 Vampire Syndrome
We all know Vampires aren’t real, not even the sparkly kind, but there is a strange mutation that causes a sensitivity to light called xeroderma pigmentosum. This mutation makes approximately 1 in 1 million people super sensitive to UV rays, forcing them into the shadows or at least away from the sun as much as possible!
If those who suffer from the mutation aren’t pro-active about it, they might develop skin cancer as their skin is delicate and most susceptible to it. Those that have this condition will burn and blister in the sun, getting a severe sunburn in mere minutes that will take weeks to recover from.
Eyes will also be extremely sensitive to light, and will need to be covered while out or vision may become blurry. Staying out of the sun completely is the best solution, but not the most practical, which is why the mutation is linked to vampirism.
6 Mallen Streak
Cruella di Vil, Sweeny Todd, and Rogue from X-Men are best known for donning this cool look, and they’re all fictional characters! This says a lot about how rare the Mallen Streak truly is! Also known as Poliosis, a Mallen Streak is something you’re born with, it’s a patch or streak of hair that is completely without pigment.
This mutation decreases melanin in the hair, which can affect eyebrows and eyelashes as well. The lack or absence of melanin is what makes that white streak present in the hair. It can be hereditary, but doesn’t have to be.
Even though fictional characters rock this look, it’s not ideal for those who would prefer an even and unified haircolour. It’s particularly discerning to youths, who would like to cover up the completely white streak, fearing it may age them. Thing is, it won’t hold dye well, so fixes are only temporary. Might be time to embrace the cool streak and claim it as your superhero signature look.
5 Werewolf Syndrome
Anything related to werewolves seems explanatory enough, we all know people won’t transform into pets, but they might have some excess hair, and by excess, I mean a lot! This mutation, also known as hypertrichosis, occurs when hair growth covers the entire body, including the face, giving an animalistic appearance.
The mutation might also be localized, so that excessive hair growth only occurs on certain areas of the body, either way, the growth can not be stopped, it can only be slowed down.
You can either inherit or develop werewolf syndrome, but those that are born with it usually suffer from more than one genetic mutation. Those that develop it are usually those that tried hair loss remedies that worked a little too well. As for treatment, there are the standard options for hair removal such as laser and waxing, but I can’t imagine it being long lasting or without a lot of discomfort.
4 Webbed Toes
Webbed toes or even fingers, is typically discovered at birth, some may have a very discreet form, where others will have quite a bit of skin between their digts. This occurrence is also known as Syndactyly. The digits become fused together, forming a webbed appearance between the digits, either toes or fingers.
This rare occurrence happens to 1 in every 2,000-3,000 babies. Geneticists don’t really know why it occurs, and they can’t predict where in the linage it will occur. It’s possible to have two parents without Syndactyly produce a child with it. Syndactyly can be dormant in the genes, and can be passed on in later generations, even if you don’t outwardly show you have the mutation.
Syndactyly is not necessarily inherited, it can simply be a mutation of the individual, but once the mutation occurs, it’s there, and can potentially be passed down to offspring. Some famous faces that have Syndactyly are Ashton Kutcher and Dan Aykroyd.
Sometimes genetic anomalies are not about what we see, but what we don’t see. SCID is an acronym for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. This very rare mutation causes the recipient to have a very weak immune system. This means they are more susceptible to diseases and bacteria and are unable to fend them off.
In severe cases they would need to live in a very sterile environment, some would even say a “bubble.” For someone with SCID, living in a normal environment can be dangerous, even fatal.
Most that have the mutation are diagnosed just before they’re 6 months old. Without treatment and being constantly monitored, these babies would not make it past a year, since infections could occur over and over again without their bodies being able to battle any foreign germ. Typical treatment of SCID is a bone marrow transplant, but doctors are currently working on gene therapy as an alternative option.
2 No Fingerprints
This next genetic anomaly is extremely strange, especially since it’s more an absence of something than an addition or edit. We’ve all talked about fingerprints at one time or another even used our fingerprints for paintings as kids. What we also know about them is that they’re all unique to each individual.
Like a snowflake, no two fingerprints are alike. This has been an invaluable tool in criminal defense, officers are able to keep prints on file and use them to attach former criminals to prints found at crime scenes.
This genetic condition, known as adermatoglyphia, leaves people without fingerprints. We use fingerprints for so many things today that it’s hard to believe people can go their whole lives without any. Adermatoglyphia makes the fingertips completely smooth, without ridges or swirls. We use fingerprints for security clearance and even to open our iPhones.
This lack of identity is a criminal’s dream mutation.
1 Who Needs Sleep?
All the tired moms reading this know that sleep is very precious and coveted thing, but what if I told you there was a genetic mutation that allows you to function without many hours of sleep at all! You’d be all over that, wouldn’t you? Well for a lucky few, it’s possible!
This genetic anomaly is usually diagnosed in adolescence, and means you’re genetically wired to survive off less sleep than others; this is almost nearly a superpower! Nicknamed “short sleepers,” they survive off of much less than the suggested eight hours most of us need, or at least seek. People who have this mutation don’t need a lot of sleep to feel refreshed and ready to go.
This is nothing like insomnia in that regard, insomnia means you can’t sleep and become absolutely exhausted due to the fact that you can’t sleep. “Short sleepers” do sleep; they just don’t need as much.