Every person born has at least 100 new mutations in her genome, and probably a lot more. That was the finding from a group of scientists who studied genetic mutations in two men from an extended family. The scientists published their work in Current Biology, and described using rapid DNA sequencing technology to investigate the subtle genetic differences that signal mutation from one generation to the next. Based on the number of mutations they found, the scientists estimate most people would have between 100-200 unique mutations in their genomes.

BBC News explains:

One of the scientists, Dr Yali Xue from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridgeshire, said: "The amount of data we generated would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

"And finding this tiny number of mutations was more difficult than finding an ant's egg in an emperor's rice store."

New mutations can occasionally lead to severe diseases like cancer. It is hoped that the findings may lead to new ways to reduce mutations and provide insights into human evolution.

Joseph Nadeau, from the Case Western Reserve University in the US, who was not involved in this study said: "New mutations are the source of inherited variation, some of which can lead to disease and dysfunction, and some of which determine the nature and pace of evolutionary change.

"These are exciting times," he added.

I hope one of my 100 mutations includes the X-gene. I'm ready to grow wings now. Or, hey, I'd be satisfied with telekinesis.


via BBC