Tag Archives: genetic freak

How Genetic Engineering Can Make Us Look Like Bodybuilders Naturally

16 Jul child bodybuilder genes

In a past post we mentioned that bodybuilding is not genetic.  Traditional bodybuilding uses anabolic steroids to imitate the hormone testosterone and increase protein synthesis and muscle growth.

There is, however, a recent discovery that could make you look like a bodybuilder without ever having to lift a weight.

Genetic “Natural” Bodybuilding

genetically altered cow muscles

In 1807 a breed of cow was discovered in Belgium that had extremely large muscles and very little fat.  This breed underwent linebreeding until the trait that caused them to be so muscular was a natural hereditary condition for all members of their breed.

Later genetic testing showed that a key mutation in the gene controlling myostatin had effectively shut off the myostatin protein.  The Myostatin protein is used by the body to inhibit muscle growth and development, so with out it, the muscles grow much larger than normal.

It not only affected adult cows, but even the babies.  The cows had double muscle tissue at birth, which means that they were literally born with twice as much muscle tissue as regular cows.

The myostatin mutation also inhibited fat storage, so these cows were bred to produce extremely lean meat, naturally.

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Wendy the Bodybuilding Dog

Wendy ripped muscle dog

Another discovered case of an inhibited myostatin gene was found in an English wippet named Wendy.  Again, the genetic mutation in that single gene caused her not only to have twice the muscle tissue of regular dogs, but accelerated muscle growth, and decreased fat storage, earning her nicknames like Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Incredible Hulk.

Unlike testosterone, the myostatin gene malfunction does not cause increases in aggressiveness or the development of male characteristics (besides the huge muscles).  Her owner claims that she does not exhibit any odd behaviors or attitudes when compared with other English wippets.

She does, however, refuse to drink tea.

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Muscular Mighty Mice!

follistatin inhibits myostatin protein in mice

A genetic scientist at Johns Hopkins discovered the myostatin gene while studying the development of a mice embryos. They found high concentrations of myostatin being expressed in skeletal muscle, and lower concentrations in fatty tissue.

When they inhibited the myostatin gene, the mice grew 30% larger than the normal mice.  As expected, they had more muscle fibers those muscles grew larger than the regular mice.  They also had less fat.  Sex appeal was not tested.

An even BIGGER discovery came only recently.

A Vaccine For Muscle

muscular mice genetically altered

The research into myostatin was part of an effort to find a treatment and possible cure for Muscular Dystrophy, a condition in which the muscles weaken and degrade over time.  Inhibiting myostatin was one possible treatment, but a difficult one, as it is most effective when the gene is turned off in an embryo, not in a fully developed adult.

Instead of turning off the myostatin gene in all of our DNA, what if they could find a protein that they could simply turn on to inhibit myostatin?

They found it.  Follistatin.  The same researchers who discovered the myostatin gene have recently released a the discovery of a new protein, follistatin, that inhibits myostatin even further.

When mice were given a follistatin vaccine that forced cells to start producing high amounts of follistatin, the same mice who had doubled their muscle tissues through myostatin inhibition now quadrupled their muscle tissue!

  • Myostatin gene mutation = 2 times the muscle
  • Myostatin gene mutation with follistatin vaccine = 4 times the muscle

If follistatin works in humans, not only will muscular degenerative diseases have a cure, but sports and bodybuilding would have a new “natural” steroid.  If you think Barry Bonds’ head is big, just wait until Ronnie Coleman starts shooting up with follistatin.

We may finally have humans big enough to wrestle grizzly bears.

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Myostatin Deficiency in Humans

Child born with super strength

There are 2 known cases of myostatin deficiency in humans. One is an unidentified German child who could apparently workout with 7 pound weights at age 5.

The other is Liam Hoekstra, whose parents became concerned when he began doing incredible physical feats at a young age. His condition has not made him muscularly bulky, but he is already an estimated 40% stronger than children his age.

If this continues, we could see strength and speed records broken by this extraordinary child.  His parents currently have him enrolled in a wrestling team.

The only downside so far to his myostatin deficiency is that his appetite is out of control.  He has to eat a full meal every hour.  Now that’s a diet problem I can deal with.

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5 Things That Are Definitely NOT Genetic

16 Jul what traits are not genetic

Nature Vs. Nurture

There is much debate in the scientific community these days about what our genes can really tell us about ourselves. Some think that our environment plays a large role in how we look, what we enjoy, and what we end up doing with our lives. Others believe that our genes determines almost everything we do.

James Watson, leader of the Human Genome Project, claimed: “In large measure, our fate is in our genes.”

That may be true for many of our physical and biological traits, but not to worry. You do still have some freedom to make choice in your life. Even if those choices are… less than ideal.

Here is a list of 5 things that even James Watson cannot cure with advanced gene therapy.

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1. Body Modification is NOT Genetic

body modification is not genetic

Believe it or not, there are dozens of ways to modify the human body. In fact, you probably know someone whose body has been modified in some way. Know anyone with breast implants, or body piercings, or both? (If so, have her email me!)

Body modification has actually been a practice in many cultures for hundreds if not thousands of years. Recently it has expanded into the West in the form of piercings, tongue slicing, and surgically implanted horns, spikes, and other anomalies.

And for those of you for whom tattoos are not permanent enough, there is even scarification, although I think all of these modifications would produce scars of some kind.

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2. Mullets are NOT Genetic

Mullets are hereditary

This is a controversial topic as mullets are still prevalent in many retro cultural communities, leading many researchers to consider if the rate of mullets in a particular area might have a genetic cause. This fact is doubly concerning to genetic researchers because mullets do appear to be passed on from parents to children.

However, as of now no conclusive evidence has been shown that a mullet gene might exist, so we must currently conclude with the rest of the scientific community that some people actually cut their hair that way on purpose.

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3. Beauty is NOT Genetic

genetics of beauty

The topic of women and the way they look is so powerful it fills volumes of books, magazines, and men’s locker rooms, and it appears that the topic will never be exhausted.

When we see a beautiful woman, we often say or think that she has great genes.  That is a completely fallacy.  Why?  Because we are not judging that woman based on her genetic ability to reproduce, we are judging her on the modern social standards of beauty.

The standards of beauty change all the time, especially in fashion.  What was incredibly beautiful 10 years ago may be laughable now.  Even today culture to culture the differences can be dramatic.  Western culture believes thin, angular women are more attractive, whereas other cultures prefer women with thick round body shapes – completely the opposite!

The desire to reproduce is, of course, genetic, but the definition of beauty which you have accepted that triggers the attraction is almost entirely socially created, and it is changing every day.  To prove this, just look at photos of “attractive” people from your parents’ generation and take note of your reaction to them.  Just a single generation can have drastically different versions of feminine beauty.

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4. Bodybuilding is NOT Genetic

bodybuilding genetic freak

They call them genetic freaks. Men with muscles the size of my head, and heads the size of my torso (see Barry Bonds). Their arms are nearly 2 feet in circumference, and their body fat percentages are in the single digits. Surely a body structure like this must be genetic in origin…

This is wrong. They should be called hormonal freaks. The anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders in order to stimulate extreme muscle growth mimic the effects of testosterone in the body, which promotes protein synthesis, reduces the ability of cortisol to break down muscle tissue, and even increases bone growth. It has nothing to do with the individual’s genes. Steroids make muscles grow, period.

Where the “sport” aspect of bodybuilding comes in is in making the growth of those muscles symmetrical and at an ideal aesthetic ratio for the human body. Arnold Schwarzenegger is often credited as the first man who perfected the human physique during his time as the Mr. Olympia World Bodybuilding Champion.  He has admitted to steroid use, but he claims it wasn’t for muscle growth, it was for maintenance during off training periods. With an ability to spin words like that, he later become a politician.

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5. Birthmarks are NOT Hereditary

birthmarks are genetic

Ok, this one is a bit tricky.  Birthmarks are genetic, but they are NOT hereditary. In other words, birthmarks are not passed down from parent to child.  In that sense they are not genetic traits that move from generation to generation.

However, birthmarks have been shown to have both genetic and non genetic causes.  Scientists for the most part aren’t really sure what causes birthmarks.  We do know that some birthmarks are caused by genetic mutations during the development of the fetus.

Sturge–Weber syndrome, which is related to port wine stains (PWS birthmarks) marks on the face, like the famous birthmark on ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, has been shown to be caused by a genetic mutation after conception. The stains are caused by the malformation of capillaries in the skin.  The genetic mutation weakens these capillaries to the point that blood “stains” the skin.

So far, however, this is the only kind of birthmark for which a specific genetic cause has been found, and other vascular birthmarks are assumed not to be hereditary.

Some sources say 80% of babies are born with a birthmark, but most fade away by adolescence.

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RELATED POSTS:

5 Amazing Things About Your Genes & DNA

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