The Blueprint of Life: 23 Intriguing Facts About DNA and Genes

1Jewel heist

Jewel heist

Despite having DNA evidence of the suspect, German police could not prosecute a $6.8 million jewel heist because the DNA belonged to identical twins, and there was no evidence to prove which one of them was the culprit.

2. 1-3% of people are equipped with a mutated gene called hDEC2 which allows their body to get the rest it requires from just a few hours of sleep.

3. A 2003 study found evidence that Genghis Khan’s DNA is present in about 16 million men alive today. However, an article from 2015 claims that ten other men left genetic legacies so huge they rival Genghis Khan's.

4. A family of people with blue skin lived in Kentucky for many generations. The Fugates of Troublesome Creek are thought to have gained their blue skin through combination of inbreeding and a rare genetic condition known as methemoglobinemia.

5. People on the Solomon Islands have a gene named TYRP1 that causes blonde hair, despite their dark skin. This gene is unrelated to the one that causes blondeness in European peoples and evolved independently.

6FAAH gene

FAAH gene

Some people have a gene mutation that makes them less likely to enjoy marijuana. Those with a variant FAAH gene are less anxious and are less inclined to like marijuana. They actually experience a decrease in happiness when smoking marijuana.

7. The gene for having six fingers is a dominant trait.

8. The genome of modern humans contains the DNA from four different hominid ancestors: homo sapiens, Neanderthals, Denisovans, and a fourth species that has yet to be discovered.

9. There are 45 genes which the human species has likely 'stolen' from other species, such as worms, fruit flies and bacteria. They have not simply been passed on from our primitive ancestors. Instead, they have jumped directly into the human genome in the last couple of million years.

10. Only about 22% of humans have the genes necessary to smell “asparagus pee.”

11HERC2 gene

HERC2 gene

The HERC2 gene mutation found in people with blue eyes is presumed to have only happened once, which means that all blue-eyed humans share a single common ancestor from which the mutation originated.

12. There is a mutated gene possessed by about half of the population that prevents a person from tasting the bitter-tasting chemical used to grow Brussels sprouts. If a person does not possess this gene they can taste the chemical, thus making them much more likely to dislike Brussels sprouts.

13. Human DNA is 50% the same as bananas.

14. A sea slug named Elysia chlorotica has taken genes from the algae it eats, allowing it to photosynthesize like a plant. This is one of the few known examples of functional gene transfer from one multicellular species to another, which is the goal of gene therapy to correct genetically based diseases in humans.

15. There is a gene named OR6A2 gene that makes cilantro taste like soap. A study by the personal genomics company 23andMe identified a small DNA variation in a cluster of olfactory receptor genes that are strongly associated with the perception of a “soapy” taste in cilantro.

16FOXC2 gene

FOXC2 gene

Elizabeth Taylor had a genetic mutation of the FOXC2 gene, which gave her an extra row of eyelashes.

17. Father's genes promotes the baby's weight in the womb, regardless of maternal health, while a mother's genes limit the baby's weight, regardless of fetal health, and a delicate balance is achieved via this conflict.

18. Popular athlete and 7-time Olympic medalist Eero Mäntyranta had a gene mutation that allowed him to carry 50% more oxygen in his body than a normal human being.

19. There is a village named Bengkala in Bali where, due to a recessive gene named DFNB3, so many people are born deaf that hearing people use sign language called Kata Kolok, and spoken language equally.

20. There is a mutated gene in fruit flies which causes them to die in 2 days when infected by a certain bacteria. This gene is named Kenny, after Kenny McCormick from South Park.

21Bacon gene

Bacon gene

There is a “bacon gene”, which makes some people able to tell the difference between pork from female and male pigs and it makes them hate the smell of the latter.

22. There is a mutation of the gene CCR5, called Delta 32, which introduces a premature stop codon into the gene. This premature coding means cells that have this mutation couldn't be infected with the HIV virus. Individuals with a homozygous CCR5-Delta 32 mutation are completely resistant to the HIV virus.

23. Out of 9 DNA samples claimed to be from the “abominable snowman”, 8 actually came from various species of bears native to the area.