X-Men In Real Life

Way back in the distant past when I was learning about Darwinism and evolutionary biology in High School we had a lesson about mutations. The class could think of multiple examples of negative mutations in humans but we struggled to think of beneficial examples.

However I just mentioned one in my response to this story:


Tetrachromacy is a condition resulting from a mutation causing 4 cones to develop in the eye’s retina rather than the typical 3. This means that people with Tetrachromacy have highly advanced colour vision (one source I looked at suggested that they could discern 100x the colours an average person with standard eye sight is capable of).

I think this is very interesting and wondered if anybody else has any real life examples of ‘superpowers’?

Some reading on Tetrachomacy:



There are two I know about one because I think I might potentially have it and the other because its an interesting situation.

  1. hDEC2 - sleep gene - this one I suspect I might have but its not that exciting. The gene is believed to cause people to have a lower physical requirement for sleep every night.

  2. ACTN3 - sprinter gene - this is one that with certain variations greatly increases the amount of fast twitch muscles that an individual has at the expense of slow twitch. Meaning individuals that have this can go really fast for a short time but struggle with endurance. This is interesting because since early humans are thought to be persistance hunters high speed low endurance would have been a severe detriment. So its believed this particular mutation is relatively new on an evolutionary time scale


Thanks for those examples, the Sleep Gene mutation is compeltely new to me. I suspect I have whatever the opposite of that is.

The Sprinter Gene explanation reminds me of a discussion I had with my trainer when I was into weight lifting. He told me that some people are built for long-periods of activity at low to mid intensity whereas others (including myself) are more set up for short and intense bursts of activity. I wonder if your explanation is what you are talking about because you’re right, humans were endurance hunters so from an anthropological point of view sprinters don’t make a great deal of sense.

Most Southeast Asians don’t have armpit stink. They simply don’t have the apocrine sweat glands that produce fragrant sweat, though they do still have eccrine sweat glands, which are the kind found all over your body and are odorless. A minority do have apocrine glands, and they have a really rough time because deodorant isn’t really sold when the majority of the population doesn’t need it.

This is caused by a mutation in the ABCC11 gene. Some lucky people outside of the Southeast Asian population have this mutation as well.


Oh thats a fun example because it could be argued as positive mutation from a sociological point of view because they are less smelly but negative from a physiological since I would assume it impacts the body’s ability to cool itself.

Weird real life example: Ozzy Osbourne has a natural obscene drug and alcohol tolerance due to a mutation on a few genes. Specifically, the mutations affect the speed at which he metabolizes them. It does have a downside in that it makes it extremely difficult to put him under and keep him out for medical procedures, as the team doing one of his colonoscopies found out the hard way. They also make addiction more likely.

Of course, his history of very heavy substance abuse also exacerbates this.


My mother has the uncanny ability to look at something and choose the right size container.

My father is sometimes a wizard; two examples of this. 1) He can wrap a triangular box neatly with four pieces of tape and none of those pieces of tape are on the box. 2) It does not matter how we disguise his presents, he can figure it out (he’s only been thrown once and he wasn’t completely wrong). Best example was a brown belt with extra things thrown in for weight. Before even tearing the wrapping paper, he says it’s a belt and my mother jokingly asks him what color. He guessed the color. The one where he was thrown was me being a smart aleck. He wanted shirts but I had found a sudoku book he would enjoy so I made origami shirts.

I don’t have any other examples of fun mutations. I do have extraordinary controls over my toes (can pick things up with them).


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