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interesting facts
genetic variation
genetic structures
weather conditions
harsh conditions
better chance
mutations
Interesting Facts About Genetics
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Interesting Facts About Genetics

All human beings, whether being white, black, Asian or Indian are 99.9% genetically identical. Only 0.1% of our genetic material differs from one another. In fact in a recent study scientists have discovered that a group of monkeys in africa were studied to find the variation in their genetic structures. they had found that these monkeys have a greater genetic variation compared to that of the human race. This variation is due to mutations that occur in the replication process of DNA. So what does this mean for researchers?

This tells researchers that at some point the human race took a dive in population giving rise to a term called "bottleneck". But what could have caused the majority of the earth’s population to die out? Most likely this is due to a change in weather conditions that were unfavorable for the inhabitants during that time period.

When scientists look back on this time frame they can see that all humans were developed from that small group of survivors. To give an example of what scientists have already discovered; a volcano, by the name of Toba, had erupted 71,000 years ago and caused a six year long volcanic winter to form. Inhabitants of the planet during this time frame had to fight famine and low temperatures. Unfortunately, a vast majority of the world’s population had died off and roughly 15,000 people survived. However, the eruption had triggered a one thousand yearlong ice age that made it that much harder for these remaining survivors to survive the harsh conditions.

However, there could be other possibilities for this “bottleneck” to occur. If we look back in history to the black plague we estimate that 30-60% of Europe’s population during that time had died off. Although the virus had swept through Europe killing most in its wake some individuals were able to survive, but how? We can see now that some individuals can have mutations in their genome that give them a better chance of surviving. In the case of the black plague, some individuals may have had a mutation that gave them a strong resistance to smallpox and plague.

Although, not all mutations can be good, some mutations can actually cause serious health defects or mental defects. The individuals with the mutation that can harm the body have a higher mortality rate than that of a normal person’s genes. Some genes are recessive, in which they lie dormant and are not activated, while other genes can be dominant and are activated. For instance, there are individuals that possess a deletion on the CCR5 gene, although mostly common in areas of North-East Europe.

The deletion in that part of the gene makes these individuals more resistant to smallpox, HIV, plague and other viruses such as West Nile virus. So when we think about it, our ancestors are the ones that are passing on genetic material that is useful in driving the human race forward. Although we may not be able to predict what the future of genetics holds, we can look back on the past to study the effects of viruses on our genome.


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