3 Genes That Give People Superpowers


Who hasn’t dreamed of having superpowers? There’s probably some part of you that wishes
a radioactive spider or a chemical dump could give you some epic origin story. But it turns out, there really are somewhat-superpowered
people who walk among us, thanks to different mutations in their DNA. Since your DNA controls everything about you,
from what you look like to how your body works, small changes in it can lead to really big
changes in things like strength and speed! Take your muscles. There are lots of different molecules that
affect how muscle tissue grows, including your skeletal muscles—the ones
you use when you move, and also look super great. One of these molecules is a protein called
myostatin, and it’s put together from the instructions in a gene known as MSTN. Normally, myostatin binds to certain receptors
on your skeletal muscle cells, which activates signaling pathways that limit
how much they grow and divide. But researchers have found at least one
mutation in the MSTN gene that creates what’s known as a loss of function. It changes the instructions enough that the
gene stops making myostatin molecules— or at least, stops making proteins that work. Without myostatin, your muscle cells grow
bigger and divide way more than usual, which means a huge boost in muscle mass and
sometimes more strength. And that leads to a condition called myostatin-related
muscle hypertrophy, where people—even children— can look like extra-ripped bodybuilders, but
without doing any of the extra heavy-duty workouts. And the condition doesn’t seem to cause any
health problems. So scientists are researching myostatin-related
therapies to treat people who have muscle weakness or whose muscle cells die too quickly. Now, huge muscles are one common superhero
trait, but what about bursts of power and speed like the Flash? Well, turns out there’s a mutation for that too. There’s a protein in skeletal muscles called
alpha-actinin-3, which is encoded by the ACTN3 gene. And it seems to be involved with fast-twitch
muscle fibers. Fast-twitch fibers are basically what they
sound like: they’re muscle cells that have quick contraction
times and give you bursts of force. They’re the muscle cells that let you sprint
really fast. And fast-twitch fibers are usually full of
proteins that break down the long, sugar-storing molecule called glycogen, turning it into glucose and other energy-packed
compounds that your muscles need to work. Now, researchers aren’t entirely sure
what alpha-actinin-3 does. But they think the protein could help with
a number of things, like making or stabilizing fast-twitch fibers or breaking down glycogen. So, if everyone has this gene, why can’t
we all sprint like Usain Bolt? Well, lots of people have a loss-of-function
mutation in the ACTN3 gene, so they don’t have working alpha-actinin-3 proteins. But it’s been found that some top-notch
sprinters and weightlifters have at least one functional copy of this gene, which means they can make the proteins that
might help with seemingly-superhuman bursts of power and speed. But if endurance is what you’re after, there
are some genetic conditions that can increase the strength of your bones. Kind of like Wolverine’s skeleton… minus
the adamantium. There’s a gene called LRP5, which holds
instructions for a protein with a mouthful of a name: low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5. Because it’s a receptor-related protein,
it’s found in lots of your cell membranes, and it’s involved with chemical signaling
between cells. We know that LRP5 is part of what’s known
as the Wnt pathway, a signaling pathway that affects lots of
important cell processes, including cell development. And some people have a gain-of-function
mutation in LRP5, meaning that the altered gene causes its protein
to have a whole new function. It seems this mutation can kickstart certain
signaling pathways on your bone cells, making them grow denser and bulkier— conditions that are generally called osteosclerosis
and hyperostosis. Some people with these conditions don’t
have any health problems. In fact, having extra-dense bones might mean
they don’t have to worry about breaking an arm or fracturing their skull as much as the rest of us do. But in other cases, this kind of mutation
can cause too much hyperostosis, which can lead to really severe forms of bone growth, like where your skull puts pressure on your
brain, or your bones pinch your nerves. In any case, researchers want to study LRP5
to better understand how genetics can play a role in bone growth, like to understand what causes or can treat
osteoporosis. So next time you’re daydreaming about superpowers
while reading some X-Men comics, keep in mind that we are all mutants in some way. It’s just that some of our mutations only
affect our hair color or our tolerance for milk, instead of giving us huge, awesome muscles. This episode is brought to you by 23andMe,
a personal genetic analysis company created to help people understand their DNA. The name ‘23andMe’ comes from the fact that human DNA is organized into 23 pairs of chromosomes. Through genetic analysis, 23andMe users can see which regions around the world their ancestors came from, and learn how their DNA influences
facial features and hair, and sense of taste and smell,
and sleep quality, and more. Just a few weeks ago, I sent in my saliva for analysis. Now that I have the results back, I have learned
about my health, my ancestry, and my personal traits. I’ve discovered that I’m 62% English Irish, but for some reason, 90% of my X Chromosome is French German! That’s weird! Also, my close DNA Relatives are 65% less likely to have skydived, which I do not find surprising. And I have 275 Neanderthal variants, which
is less than most europeans so, basically, I am a below average Neanderthal. That’s just a tiny glimpse, the whole report
was so much fun to go through and I feel bad I didn’t get one for my wife
too, so we could go through it together. I can also learn about my predispositions to different diseases, or choose to keep that information hidden
if I would rather not know. I can even get in touch with 23AndMe users
who share my ancestry. If you want to do the same—and also support SciShow— it’s super fun, and you can check out 23andMe.com/SciShow.

100 thoughts on “3 Genes That Give People Superpowers”

  1. Ok so why is it when I’m in a decent mood and am asked to lift or move something and I give it my best to the point of shaking through my entire body. Yet, make me mad and I can do twice what was asked before? Can’t blame it all on adrenaline. So? Just wondering. Is it a life or flight? Isn’t that adrenaline?

  2. Hank . You're sexy either way but I much prefer you as a twiggy, pasty, nerd. Just gently whisper the law of relativity in my ear please. Lol

  3. Well my dna test result said I had the ACTN3 gene. As a kid I was awesome in dodgeball ..lol, long distance running pretty good, sprinting faster than other white guys… and fast jab in the ring. Didnt help with anything in adulthood. whats the point.? Id rather win the Powerball.

  4. I also have extremely thick bones due to my disorder which no one else in the world has and I don't think it's been named yet. They did a bone biopsy in my sternum and the doctors feet came off the ground trying to get the needle in. Once it was in he said he could have hug me from the ceiling and the needle wouldn't have come out on its own. Something great to be known for in the New England Journal of Medicine. I have been in there several times.

  5. And this, is the video that have revealed Muscle Hank to the world, and he was flexing on dem haters ever since.

    And when flexing didnt work, he punched them in the face.

  6. I doctor did a test on me 2 years ago and i had 10% body fat, 20% more muscle mass than the average male my age. Does that mean im a mutant? keeping in mind that i do not do any physical exercise whatsoever.

  7. Top 5 Characters who could defeat Thanos:
    5) Bugs Bunny
    4) Shaggy
    3) Po (Kung Fu Panda)
    2) Smash Bros. Isabelle
    1) Muscle Hank

  8. if 23 and me is going to pay ME to get my personal DNA info, then maybe. Maybe i'll do it. I don't feel that me paying for them to have that kind of sensitive and important info is reasonable.

  9. 23 and me… How they persuaded (conned) a lot of the population to give up their DNA willingly. Stay tuned for further developments.

  10. Hey, y’all, I love y’all’s videos. I just wanted to mention that the bone density disease is called “osteoporosis,” not “osteoperosis.” The misspelled word is at approximately 4 minutes 20 seconds.

  11. FYI The Ancestry tests vary widely depending on what company does it due to the database they use. Still a cool concept and a developing science.

  12. The ridiculous part is that this guy is gonna say mutations… Everyone has different genetics. Doesnt mean there is a mutation. This type of crap is all bs. You would have to believe in all the bs theories like the big bang and evolution to come to these conclusions. So if you dont believe in theories. Then you shouldnt take people like this literal. Although hes very confident like most intellectuals. Thats only because he has mastered the ability to remember things you have read or been taught in school. Hes not even doing that. Hes reading a script. Come on yall. Wake up and stop acting like science is 100% correct. There is a more awesome reason why humans, animals and the planet exist and details behind it.

  13. Stand in front of a mirror and say Muscle Hank three times in the dark, then turn on the lights and be surprised! Be warned of the awesomeness!

  14. My mutation makes it so that whenever I take Benadryl, I can't sleep for several hours. Most people get drowsy. I get hyperactive. Also, my mutation causes me to have ADHD, nerve damage, and some form of autoimmune disorder that we still don't know what is. I think I'd rather have the superpowers.

  15. Pay to send your DNA off to be analyzed and monetized.
    Who knows who will end up with your data?
    What a racket.

  16. I know creators need sponsorships but come on…. This is a science show and hank damn well knows that genitic testing for location heritage has a massive margin of error. I will ignore the fact that health insurance companies get their way and gain access to that information they will adjust your rates accordingly.

  17. I've had so many injurys and a lot of sould have been much worse that I why I came to this video

    And I don't lie about this to get attention what I said is true and I put this in the comments because everyone else's put stuff in the comments and I'm not one of those people that lie about this stuff to get attention

  18. Yep. The guy who holds the record for strongest child was able to lift a couch completely off the ground when he was 5 years old

  19. I jumped of a house rooth for fun with my friend but he chicked out but I only got a twisted ankle and I landed on concrete I have done so much stupid stuff but I have never broken a bone maybe I have that gernetic thing I do get growing pains almost every day

  20. Im surprised the gene for unlimited stamina was not in this video, but I guess if its a list of three, you have to prioritize

  21. I hope in the near future we'll be able to genetically modify ourselves to unlock these powers.

  22. Actually Myostatin can come with alot of health risks and injury risks. Their body's gain muscles so fast they cramp more often than a regular athlete. They get tissue tears from the muscle pulling hard on the tendor

  23. It's good to know what you are prone to with the illnesses you may get in your life time since you can work on countering them before they may hit you one day, I want to do the test one day and know what i could get

  24. bruh, i dunno how to explain this, but even without exercising my body has a bursting amount of stamina, and when my body should be at its limits, i can keep going, for example, i basically never go out, yet one day i did and full on ran for 10 miles, and wasnt that tired, i could have kept going if it wasn't for the fact i was getting bored after hours, then i ran back home uphill

  25. i recomened looking into the legal aspects of 23andme. you don't want to lose your right to your own DNA or something.

  26. Please do an episode on multiple sclerosis. I've been suffering from it for 16 years now next month and I always love hearing new things about it. I know in 1996 they did a study where 25 people went in and 24 people made it out without MS and I know they did a repeat study in 2006 where 24 people went in and 23 people made it out without MS. Love the videos keep it up!

  27. When I saw the thumbnail of this video I just absolutely NEEDED to watch this video. Turns out it was a normal video which was cool to watch.

  28. Bro I have such a crazy response time it’s crazy and I’m like a cheetah I can go crazy fast but get tired really quickly and I never get fat no matter how much I eat and dispite my 62kg I can take on guys around 80-90kg I beat everyone at armwrestling and I don’t feel like my opponent is trying they are so weak

  29. Default Pict is perfectly done..We need to get host to that level of perfection wit his physique!!💪🏼👌

  30. Idk how i am able to lift couches because i am a female who is 110 pounds and 5'4". My strength is imence. I do not go to the gym. The strangest part is that i dont look like i have any muscle at all.

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