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Genetics of Superhumans

Daksha Shah 0
Ever wondered why Superheroes are unique? What is it about Superman or Spiderman that makes them who they are? 
So whether it is a spider sting or a chemical reaction gone wrong or for that matter being on a planet with minerals that influence, the power that these oh-so ordinary men and women got was because of the fascinating world of Genetics.
Genes decide who we are. They are the blueprint of life and they decide and control the fate of the cells. Genes are the basic units of genetics. A gene is a part of DNA – Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or simply put, the genetic material. Gene is that length of DNA which codes for a protein and the protein decides the outcome or function that is to be performed. Only 3% of genes of the DNA are used, the function of the remaining 97% is still unknown.  
Just think if the remaining 97% is used what will happen …!
A major difference in genes and its coding, produces variations and gives us a unique identity. Recombination of DNA and Mutation results in changes in the genes and the appearance of new characteristics.
For example, in humans, mutation in CCR5 makes people resistant to the most dreadful disease – AIDS. The CCR5 gene codes for a protein on the surface of white blood cells involved in the immune system. These white blood cells do not have receptors for the Human Immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. Thus, the virus cannot attach to the cells and cannot affect them.  Hence, the body becomes resistant to the disease.

One fascinating mutation in humans gives certain females the power of tetra-chromatic vision that enables them to perceive more colors. They see 100 times more colors than the average person. Mutations in the X chromosome can cause a person to perceive varying number of colors. If mutation occurs in both X-chromosomes, then a female has four cone cells (responsible for the perception of color) as compared to only two cone cells in a normal person.

This is what exactly makes these Superheroes different – the variations or changes in their genes. The superheroes must have some mutation in their genes that gives them powers like flying, invisibility , super strength , telepathy, iron claws , speed etc.
Did you know that the modern world has its own share of actual super-humans?  What would you say if you were to see someone slicing a bullet in half in mid-air?

Isao Machii has a superb hand-eye co-ordination that certainly surpasses all human definitions of skill. 

See the video provided by the Myth-busters team as his sword-mastery was filmed using an slow motion camera.


Cryokinesis, the ability to turn things around him to ice is something that a super human does. In real life a man called Wim Hof can do pretty much similar things. Although he cannot turn other things to ice, he has made world records by staying submerged in ice for 1 hour 44 minutes and running a marathon above the polar circle in Finland, wearing only shorts. In 2007, he also attempted to climb Mount Everest in shorts but had to abandon it following a foot injury. 

Modern science has the ability to do it deliberately. The process of adding an extra gene is called Transgenesis. Playing around with genes and having super powers sounds cool, but needs extreme caution. 

If given a chance, what change will you bring in your genes and which super power would you want to Own?


Daksha Shah

Daksha is an integral part of the editorial team at Zigya. Armed with a B.Tech degree, she oversees content quality assurance for Biology. Her subtle wit, observation skills and agile demeanour bring the buzz in the editorial team and ensures meeting stiff deadlines. An astute blogger, when not working Daksha prefers to spend her time with her canine companion, Spiky. Follow her work at

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