The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: mutation causing the Hulk  (Read 4368 times)

Offline DrN

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 815
    • View Profile
mutation causing the Hulk
« on: 26/06/2004 20:34:32 »
I was really interested to read on newscientist.com (and in the independent, and of course the actual journal the research was published in) about the finding that a hyper-muscled german boy who has mutations in both his myostatin alleles.

Myostatin is an inhibitor of muscle development, and natural mutations are found in various breeds of cattle, notably the double-muscled beglian blue. Research has also been carried out in lab mice, and a 'mighty mouse' has been developed.

all very interesting, and the potential for treatments for muscular atrophy in AIDS and cancer patients, and sufferers of muscular dystrophy are huge. Not to mention the meat industry and body builders!

What I am surprised about is that no-one has previously reported this mutation in humans? surely babies must have born before with larger than usual muscles? They found that the baby's mother had a single mutation, and was particularly strong herself, and was an ex-professional athlete.

so maybe this mutation is very rare, or maybe its actually quite common, but muscly babies have not been reported because no-one ever found the gene until now?

It would also be interesting to know how many other professional athletes have this mutation?! and whether this constitutes an unfair advantage in sports competitions?

anyway, if anyone out there knows any more about this subject I'd be really interested to hear about it.


 

Offline Ylide

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 905
    • View Profile
    • http://clem.mscd.edu/~mogavero
Re: mutation causing the Hulk
« Reply #1 on: 27/06/2004 23:50:41 »
I think genetic engineering is going to raise a lot of ethics issues in sporting competitions.  I'd bet money we'll see regulation of certain genes in sporting events in our lifetime.  Or perhaps even  "mutant" leagues where genetically favored athletes compete only against each other.  I could be wrong, but humanity tends to segragate and treat differently anything that's not exactly like itself.



This message brought to you by The Council of People Who Are Sick of Seeing More People
 

Offline chris

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5339
  • Thanked: 65 times
  • The Naked Scientist
    • View Profile
    • The Naked Scientists
Re: mutation causing the Hulk
« Reply #2 on: 28/06/2004 02:18:56 »
I've not read the original article - do you have the reference please ?

It might be that in humans there are other genes which can compensate, albeit at a reduced level, for the absence of the myostatin gene. Hence to see the full phenotype perhaps you have to have simultaneous inactivation not only of myostatin but the other gene too...

Alternatively it might just be a homozygous lethal in humans and this guy is one rare lucky exception.

Sounds intriguing none the less.

Chris

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception"
 - Groucho Marx
 

Offline DrN

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 815
    • View Profile
Re: mutation causing the Hulk
« Reply #3 on: 28/06/2004 22:46:52 »
interesting about the lethality bit. I'm also wondering if perhaps the homozygote isn't normally that noticable in humans, but the sporting background of the family maybe enhanced the appearance? perhaps they have other genetic predispositions besides the myostatin mutation that enhances the athletic ability of the heterozygotes.

The ref is in this months New England Journal of Medicine. Schuelke et al, June 24, 350(26) 2682-8. 'Myostatin mutation associated with gross muscle hypertrophy in a child'.

Apparently they are already talking about screening athletes for the gene and banning the ones who carry the mutant from competing. I'm guessing that the vast majority of olympic medal winners will have a heterozygous mutant myostatin gene! could be interesting!
 

Offline chris

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5339
  • Thanked: 65 times
  • The Naked Scientist
    • View Profile
    • The Naked Scientists
Re: mutation causing the Hulk
« Reply #4 on: 29/06/2004 06:20:56 »
Sounds like a complete farce. What do they think distinguishes one athlete from another apart from the interaction between their genes and the training they do (and the drugs they take of course !)

I suspect that the case report is down to variable penetrance (due to whatever reason). Very interesting though.

Chris

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception"
 - Groucho Marx
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: mutation causing the Hulk
« Reply #4 on: 29/06/2004 06:20:56 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums