The science of genetics is as young as it is mysterious. Yes, we can use this word without any exaggeration because it’s true – there are more unsolved secrets and undiscovered mysteries in genetics than in any other science (okay, astrophysics is also a decent competitor). That being said, numerous discoveries are made in genetics each year, revealing new mind-bending facts about the building blocks of a human being. It wasn’t until 2003 that scientists have finally mapped out the human genes, revealing the startling number of around 25,000 genes that make us who we are. Here are 10 mind-bending facts about genes that explain everything.
Mutations make us pretty
Well, not all mutations are equal in its impact, but if a person looks somehow different – rest assured a mutation is to blame! They can be drastic like albinism, vitiligo, and multiple eye colour, but there are also subtler mutations like the one that made Elizabeth Taylor grow beautiful double-layered eye-lashes.
We are 99% alike
Yes, on genetic level we are more than 99% alike, which makes less than 1% of our genes responsible for all the differences like height, build, eye colour, skin colour, and genetic predisposition to various diseases.
We share genes with cats and bananas
Genes are called building blocks for a reason – same genes when arranged differently (and sprinkled with some unknown magic here and there) can produce various critters, fruits, and veggies. Just like that we share around 96% of genes with chimpanzees, 90% – with cats, 80% – with cows, and around 60% – with bananas.
We’re made of ‘dark matter’
Similar to what astrophysicists found in space, there is quite a lot of ‘biological dark matter’ found in our GI tract. This is unclassified genetic information that cannot be traced to plants, viruses, fungi, animals, or any other species we know about. It’s of completely unknown origin!