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The Average Human Has 60 New Genetic Mutations

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the magnetic-colon dept.

Biotech 246

mcgrew pointed out a story about a new study that found the average person is born with 60 genetic mutations, very few of which involve weather manipulation or an amazing healing factor. This number was less than expected, leading the researchers to believe human evolution happens more slowly than previously thought. From the article: "Sixty mutations may sound like a lot, but according to the international team of geneticists behind the new research, it is actually fewer than expected. 'We had previously estimated that parents would contribute an average of 100 to 200 mistakes to their child,' Philip Awadalla, a geneticist at the University of Montreal who co-led the project, said in a press release. 'Our genetic study, the first of its kind, shows that actually much fewer mistakes, or mutations, are made.'

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We should regulate mutations... (4, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475452)

...before a little girl passes through a wall at the federal reserve!

Re:We should regulate mutations... (0)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475810)


You laugh, but this is serious news.

These new mutations are causing cancer, heart disease, subluxations and other life threatening maladies. Now, more than ever, people should:

Eat well

Get plenty of sleep

Get plenty of exercise

Get regular chiropractic adjustments for themselves and their entire family

But no, people will eat, sit on the couch and let the subluxations fester into cancer and other health problems.

Re:We should regulate mutations... (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476052)

You laugh,

Yes. We laugh at you.

Simon. (Also a Dr. But I'm a real Dr. People like you give medicine a bad name).

Re:We should regulate mutations... (0)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476128)


Doctors of Chiropractic are doctors working in the alternative health & medicine field!

No, we're not BigPharma shills like MDs, we treat the PERSON not the symptom. If a person came to you with a serious issue like, say, Cancer, would you treat them with toxic drugs that could harm the person? Probably.

A DC would locate the subluxations and through aggressive adjustments and treatments treat the SOURCE of the problem.

Re:We should regulate mutations... (4, Insightful)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476214)

Alternative medicine is just medicine that doesn't work, or hasn't been shown to work. If an alternative medicine is shown to work, they call it medicine.

Re:We should regulate mutations... (1)

redemtionboy (890616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476174)

They just print paper there. Go to Ft Knox for the gold.

Re:We should regulate mutations... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476236)

We don't pay for things with gold.

Re:We should regulate mutations... (2)

redemtionboy (890616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476258)

No, but the bricks stack better to make a pimp ass fort.

Re:We should regulate mutations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476668)

Can I have yours then? I'll figure something out.

source (1)

jcombel (1557059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476578)

hijacking first thread to link the source [nature.com] (subscription/university login req'd), since the posted article doesn't.

Re: she will be tardy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476584)

that OLD LADY already cleaned it out

Re:We should regulate mutations... (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476750)

Implement genetic ECC, IMO!

Hogwash! (2, Funny)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475474)

Mutations, smutations! Everyone knows that evolution is bunk and that humans were created in their current, perfect form just 6000 years ago.

Re:Hogwash! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475676)

Mutations, smutations! Everyone knows that evolution is bunk and that humans were created in their current, perfect form just 6000 years ago.

Until you have actual proof to the contrary, and not just conjecture, I think I'll stick with the general consensus since time began.

Re:Hogwash! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475708)

Have fun in flamebait land.

Re:Hogwash! (1)

RussellSHarris (1385323) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475802)

Who said anything about their current form being perfect? IIRC perfection was lost in the garden of eden.

Re:Hogwash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475972)

Damn straight, and as proof, I present...

        CowboyNeal

To quote Charles Xavier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475492)

That's a very groovy mutation.

Re:To quote Charles Xavier (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476118)

That's a very groovy mutation.

Only superpowers and eye colors are groovy mutations. Some mutations are terrible.

Re:To quote Charles Xavier (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476456)

Define "terrible". For something that is the way it its because their genes ended in something that was and advantage or at least, not an impediment to survive/mate, odds are pretty high that a random change will be damaging. That it look well or bad, thats a social/cultural thing, but what defines if its good or bad is if it survives and spreads for long enough.

Regarding superpowers, if they require not just changing one gene, but a lot to be able to work, probably should be designed instead of happening at random if we want them to ever happen.

Re:To quote Charles Xavier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476554)

Being able to eat/drink dairy products without farting like a school of herring is quite groovy.

Not Mistakes (1, Interesting)

HisOmniscience (1361001) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475554)

I would have thought that a geneticist would realize that mutations aren't necessarily mistakes and are key to adaptations and evolution.

Re:Not Mistakes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475632)

And I would have thought that most of the posts on this topic would be fucking retarded. At least one of us made a correct assumption.

Re:Not Mistakes (2)

themightythor (673485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475696)

But you're assuming that mistakes are detrimental. Mutations are, by definition, a mistake in the genetic copying process.

Re:Not Mistakes (2)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476266)

Serendipity is the art of making useful mistakes. Nature is 100% serendipitous.

Re:Not Mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476490)

I don't know if you're just kidding, but I don't think that's accurate. The last I'd had it explained ot me, the vast majority of mutations are either negative or of no meaningful effect. Very rarely, something with utility emerges and hopefully that leads to that individual being more successful and reproducing.

If that's correct (anyone?), it's hardly 100% serendipitous.

Re:Not Mistakes (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475720)

Well yea... Just because something is a mistake doesn't mean it isn't necessary.

Re:Not Mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475726)

Isn't evolution "external".
By that, I mean that a lifeform is killed by being unable to adapt.
And it is only the ones that survive that go on to make more mutations. (or, technically, mistakes in copying)
Rinse and repeat.

Of course, it depends whether or not they are speaking of everything passed on to offspring, including the combination of 2 or more parents genes, or just general copying errors.
I'd check, but for some reason Live Science is blocked.

Re:Not Mistakes (1)

spauldo (118058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475860)

Natural selection is just a part of the process of evolution. It's a lot more complicated than that.

What they're saying here is that since there are fewer mutations in each new human, there are fewer opportunities for new traits to develop, since most mutations don't lead to new traits.

Re:Not Mistakes (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475730)

Maybe it's that they expected to find 100-200 *variations*, but only 60 of them were significant variations (called "mistakes"), while the rest were variations that ended up being in line with the rest of the gene pool (so not noticed).

Mistakes (4, Insightful)

Comboman (895500) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475820)

In terms of a DNA sequence making an exact copy of itself, yes they are mistakes (that is the very definition of a mutation). Whether that mistake turns out to be beneficial to the organism or not is a separate issue.

Re:Not Mistakes (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476290)

No, they are mistakes, errors in copying. Just occasionally, they're useful mistakes.

Re:Not Mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476326)

I would have thought that a geneticist would realize that mutations aren't necessarily mistakes and are key to adaptations and evolution.

This is true! I do in fact have an amazing healing factor. Every time I work out and start to develop unsightly muscles, the healing factor kicks to conceal the bulges beneath a thick layer of protective fat. If I shave any part of my body, my healing factor grows the hair back in twice as thick!

And does it work with the ladies? Oh yes, it keeps those diseased whores fifty miles away at all times.

Creationists? (0)

myrdos2 (989497) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475588)

I know this is probably going to go down in flames, but exactly how do creationists deal with this sort of finding? Answers from actual creationists preferred...

Re:Creationists? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475654)

There isn't a big enough flame bait mod point for this one and I've got all 15 sat waiting to be used. :)

Re:Creationists? (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475724)

Well, you *did*. Best go see another thread now.

Re:Creationists? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475922)

yes, but I got meta flamehooked.

Re:Creationists? (2)

Marc Madness (2205586) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475658)

I know this is probably going to go down in flames, but exactly how do creationists deal with this sort of finding? Answers from actual creationists preferred...

It's the evolution of intelligent design: iterative design. The X-Men might actually exist had God opted for an Agile design process.

Re:Creationists? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476294)

Yes, but can you imagine the daily Scrums that would have taken place? And what if God plays by Australian Rules?

Re:Creationists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475698)

Microevolution is entirely possible as evident in dogs, but evolution into a completely different species is what I dont agree on.

Re:Creationists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475792)

Why not? It sounds kind of cool to me.

Re:Creationists? (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476218)

The problem is that the human brain really likes to put things into categories. That is an hamster, but that over there is not. Just because that is the way the human brain likes to work doesn't mean that it's a universal truth. Species do not exist as a phenomenon outside of the human brain. Trying to decide where one species starts and another species ends is like picking two points of the visual spectrum at random as new colors and then arguing over where one starts and the other stops. Sure, if you look at one color and then the other, you can tell that they're different, but if how do you decide where the cutoff point is? Any point you choose is going to be arbitrary because your starting points were arbitrary. The same is true for organisms.

There are organisms which are genetically similar enough to allow for viable offspring, and organisms that are not. But even that can't magically create an immutable category, everything inside of which is a hamster and everything outside of which isn't.

Re:Creationists? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476340)

The trolls, don't feed them. You only create an environmental boundary condition that leads to the evolution of more trolls, who thrive in that particular ecological (or in this case memetic) niche. As for the GP, suffice to say that microevolution" - a concept completely made up by the creationist/ID crowd - obviously includes everything obeserved and conclusively proven to the point where you simply can't deny it. Everything outside of that, they call macroevolution. Of course, if anything previously filed under "macro" gets conclusively shown in the lab, it is re-filed under "micro": Gotta keep these goalposts moving after all.

Re:Creationists? (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476580)

No, that empirically does not work on this subject. That is how scientists around the country tried to deal with the problem for 50 years and at the end of that half century there were more people against the teaching of evolution than there were at the beginning of it. The problem is that for every troll, there is an actual creationist out there who believes what they are saying (which, IMO, makes them uneducated, but not a troll). Leaving these people to their own devices just sets them up in an echo chamber of their own misunderstandings until we end up in a situation where decision makers believe this nonsense. Then you have school boards, text book publishers, even presidential nominees who will state proudly that they don't believe in evolution. At the very least, I will voice my disagreement to make it clear that there are those who disagree, those that will hear the proud statement of a candidate's ignorance and irrevocably put them on the 'will not vote for' list.

So please, if you see someone politely, non-aggressively stating their misunderstandings, correct them politely and non-aggressively. If it's a troll, you won't have given them the satisfaction of making you angry because you will have been polite. If it's someone who actually believes what they are saying maybe, just maybe, you'll convince them to take another look at what they believe. Even if they don't believe what they are saying, someone reading it probably does, and if you can convince just a single person to rethink the subject it is, IMO, worth the 2 minutes it took to write out a reasoned, polite response.

Re:Creationists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475718)

A creationist on slashdot? I wouldn't hold your breath.

Re:Creationists? (0)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475742)

Have creationists ever denied the existence of mutations?

Re:Creationists? (1)

ukemike (956477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476682)

Have creationists ever denied the existence of mutations?

Actually the most common pop rebuttal of observed evolution does deny mutations. It goes like this: When a population of bacteria are exposed to an antibiotic and most die off and the remaining population reproduces which leads to a population of antibiotic bacteria it is not because of a mutation but because of already existing genetic variation.

[sigh]Yes yes I know that argument is so flawed it isn't funny, I'm not making that argument. I'm just saying that yes some creationists do deny the existence of mutations.[/sigh]

Re:Creationists? (-1, Offtopic)

feranick (858651) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475744)

That's the gods' work in action. How do you think gods actually direct their "intelligent" action? They cherry pick on DNA, selecting what mutations needs to take place. Simple enough.

Re:Creationists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475786)

Original sin damaged humans' initial perfection. The volume of mutations is evidence of that fall, that we are all now imperfect and awaiting 'repair'.

Re:Creationists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475842)

Since we no longer live in a perfect environment (Eden), we are subject to decay and death. Because of sin, we now have imperfect copies of copies. We have slowly changed over the time span of human history as can be seen in our average height and other factors. Slowly changing, we are still human and will continue to be human at least as good as a definition as we have. As it stands though we can't even decide what is human and what is not when arguing about life in general [see abortion debate].
To answer your question, this finding is expected. Mutations are rarely, if ever, beneficial. But after many thousands of generations of say a fruit fly, with all their mutations, it's still a fruit fly.

Re:Creationists? (1, Offtopic)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476030)

A strict creationist (6 days, circa 6000 years ago in the Garden of Eden) would quite simply explain that of course mutations occur. They are a result of the first sin. The logic is somewhat complicated (although internally consistent), enough so that I will not attempt to explain the entire thought process here on slashdot.

Re:I will not attempt to explain (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476130)

Fermat Likes this.

Re:Creationists? (1)

myrdos2 (989497) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476136)

But... how can mutations occur but not evolution? Do they believe that it's impossible for mutations to be passed down to your offspring?

Re:Creationists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476744)

No, they believe that efficiently ALL mutations are harmful, and that the chances of one good mutation forming are negligible, statistically impossible, or just out right impossible. Problem is we've seen beatifically mutations occur in the lab and in the wild.

Re:Creationists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476182)

I am a strict Creationist, but I don't reject evolution. I do reject that all life on earth has a common ancestor. Evolution and the genesis of life are not the same thing, despite people who are not scientists packaging them together as a "take all and reject any being outside science, or leave all and sound like an uneducated radical" package.

I fail to see how less mutations per generation have to do with my belief in a creator.

Re:Creationists? (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476418)

It's not possible to be a strict Creationist AND believe in evolution unless you really believe that all this evolution happened in the last 6000 years.

Re:Creationists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476494)

why?
Who said that we've ALWAYS only had 60 mutations per generation?

Re:Creationists? (1, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476102)

Creationists avoid all straight answers by just calling it "God's Will" or "God's Plan". It's a very handy catch-all bullshit answer.

Re:Creationists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476198)

hey bro, fuck you.

Re:Creationists? (2)

rasmusbr (2186518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476232)

Simple. They claim that mutations are always harmful to the organism and it's descendants.

When biologists show them examples of beneficial mutations happening in nature and in the lab, the creationists change their claim to that mutations are statistically speaking almost always harmful and that therefore the sum over time of mutation upon mutation will always be harmful to a population (and by doing so they prove that they don't understand the process of iterated natural selection).

When biologists show them many examples of how species have adapted to changing environmental conditions the creationists agree that populations can mutate and develop in beneficial ways, but claim that the changes are always small and that over really long periods of time the change always gravitates around the God-given species equilibrium. The creationists call this "microevolution".

When biologists show them examples of massive evolutionary change such as the chain of fossils of the transition from a land-living animal to whales, the creationists begin to write sophistry about "irreducible complexity" and information "theory" and claim that there's a science called "intelligent design".

When biologists show them that irreducible complexity is not observed in nature and point out that complexity is observed to arise spontaneously in thermodynamic processes such as for example the formation of snowflakes, the creationists will surely come up with some other dumb crap. This is the stage we're at right now, so I don't know what it'll be, although a stupid idea known as "specified complexity" seems likely to become popular. These guys are completely immune to knowledge, so rest assure that there will be something new.

Re:Creationists? (2)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476378)

I'm a Creationist; an old-school bible-thumper. I think this sort of thing is genuinely fascinating and I have no problem with it, or other evidence that points to an old Earth/universe, etc. I accept the scientific evidence for what it is (that is: true according to the best of our knowledge today, and may be altered tomorrow based on new evidence), and generally believe that everything is as old as geologists say it is, and that life evolves over time because of mutations like these combined with natural selection factors. In short -- I accept what the scientific community says. My daughter is big into dinosaurs, fossils, and paleontology right now and I'm encouraging that.

I also believe the universe and everything in it was created by an omnipotent being with a specific intent a relatively short time ago. I get that from the protestant christian Bible, and my best understanding of it.

I intellectually manage that by remembering three things: 1) We don't know everything about the physical universe. 2) We don't understand everything in the Bible. 3) We don't really know what happens when something is created from nothing, but wouldn't it make sense that whatever is created comes into existence at a specific age? I think it's called the "Ideal Age" theory or something like that in philosophy/theology.

I thought about that little further. If you'd seen Adam 5 minutes after he was created you'd think, "He's an adult male, probably 20-30 years old." And you'd be right. He's a 20-30 year old male that's only been around for 5 minutes. He'd bear every mark of having been born and matured like any human, because he really was an adult. If you'd look at the universe you'd say, "It's about 13-15 billion years old." And you'd be right. It's a 13-15 billion year old universe that's been around for a few thousand years, bearing every mark of a universe coming from a big bang complete with background radiation, dark matter, rate of expansion, the whole deal. Earth itself bears every mark that a 4.5 billion year old life-bearing planet would have; a fossil record, evidence of cyclic ice ages, etc, because it is a 4.5 billion year old life-bearing planet. It came into existence at that age.

Some Creationists say that God planted the fossils and other geological evidence to "test our faith" and I don't buy that. Doing so wouldn't be consistent with what we can see of God's nature -- consistency and truth (with one or two curious exceptions in the Bible). It's not an illusion or a trick; it's reality. It looks old because it is old. I don't think the age of the universe was ever meant to test anything, except maybe the egos of the people who think they have to be right about everything in the Bible.

But, to more directly answer the parent's post, wouldn't fewer mutations argue against evolution anyway? Don't we need, now, a lot more time for our species to evolve? And are we sure the rate of mutation has been constant, anyway? I still think it's an interesting discovery, anyway.

Apologies for throwing fuel on what will just end up being another flame war....

Re:Creationists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476566)

I can't speak for anyone else, but I thank you for explaining your viewpoint and wish more discussions of this nature would be just as civil.

Re:Creationists? (1)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476380)

Christian here. I'm answering on the basis that your question is "If humans were created not evolved into, then how do you explain this obvious evolution in humans?" I'd say... I'm no biologist, mechanical is more my thing. You tell me.

Re:Creationists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476426)

Creationists do not deny natural selection. It's perfectly logical, and can be directly observed. What we have a problem with is that an increase in complexity has never been scientifically observed. Scientists have never seen an organism _advance_; only change to perform better in their environment.

Bad science below. (2)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475628)

My intuition tells me they're missing something. I've always felt that mutation rates among stressed organisms would be a lot higher than among healthy sucessful organisms. Again, intuitively, not scientifically, from a "selfish gene" perspective, an organism that generated more mutations in its offspring when it wasn't doing well would be more likely to have ANY of its genes passed on to future generations, while an organism doing well would mutate less.

From a simpler perspective: more viruses, more bacteria, more cell damage all make mutations of some kind more likely as well. Mutations are copy-errors, and a cell under stress would be less able to error-correct its genes.

None of this has a hypothesis I'd be willing to put out, but I think studying first world humans misses some possible independent variables.

It's not bad science, it's just how evoluton works (1)

feranick (858651) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475864)

If you do a similar comparison to computer coding, your argument is similar to saying that a mature, stable program needs less patches (mutations) and bug fixing to work, while a less mature products will require more patches. However, even for stable programs, that do their thing well, there is always space for subtle improvements (a refined interface, a new feature, support for new architectures). I think the same applies for living organism. Your definition of healthiness may not necessarily include the subtle mutations that further improve on the original. For example, again just as in computer coding, as hardware evolves, you won't need to support old and unused hardware features, and so you remove it. The same for evolved organisms: that's probably why we lost the tail and most of our fur. On the other hand, the needs of the current world to multitask and new uses for hands and brains dictated by technology, may be also influence the mutations that take place. 60 mutations isn't all that much, after all.

Re:It's not bad science, it's just how evoluton wo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476602)

I don't think that analogy to software development is aproparate here. A programmer who writes patches intentionally corrects or alters the code in an effort to gain a certain outcome, country to how evolution is believed to work.

Re:Bad science below. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475966)

There's also punctuated equilibrium [wikipedia.org] to consider, which is the idea that important evolutionary changes happen suddenly, like bursts of evolution. IINAEB, but maybe these events account for more of the mutations than previously thought, explaining why we don't observe more mutations in "normal" humans.

Re:Bad science below. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476076)

*IINAEB=I Is Not An Evolutionary Biologist

Re:Bad science below. (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475976)

From a "selfish gene" perspective, there should be an optimum regarding the rate of mutations passed on to offspring. Zero obviously has your germline severly limited in terms of adaptability, too high a number would be detrimental for obvious reasons, and further to that, as you say dilute our "selfish gene" out of existence. As usual, evolution tends to settle into local optima - "good enough" is all that it takes.

As for the stress factor - sounds plausible on the first glance, however, stress response leads to a profound and measurable change in gene expression - upon cellular stress, genes coding for the DNA repair system tend to be expressed more strongly. So actually, mutation rate might be even lower under stress response. I don't have quantitative data at hand, though.

Re:Bad science below. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476186)

Presumably also, if a successful organism finds itself in a stressful position environmentally, such that it causes a dwindling and more isolated population unable to relocate, it will be forced into more incestuous couplings to increase mutation and find a new stable genome to survive in the new environment, or become extinct.

Re:Bad science below. (1)

EntropyXP (956792) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476228)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics [wikipedia.org] - DNA is big, some genes can be turned on, others can be turned off by stressors that affect the parents even in their youth.

makes sense to be (0)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475656)

of course, i'm not educated in the field, but if parent's dna were copied exactly the same, then you wouldn't be much different from your brothers and sisters.

Seems like it's evolution, not mutation.

Re:makes sense to be (4, Informative)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475788)

No!
The main difference between you and your brother aren't mutations, but which part of your DNA you get from your mother and which part from your father.
(I'm not a biologist/geneticist.)

Re:makes sense to be (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475916)

As i understand it, when two creatures reproduce, its always a crap-shoot as to which traits come thru and which are left behind so to speak. If the father has genes A B and C and the mother has D E F and only three are need to create another human, Than the offspring could have any permeation of those three. ABE or ADF etc... The genes themselves would obviously try to copy themselves as best as possible. So it would be variance in gene selection not evolution or mutation that makes someone different than their sister. A mutation would be something along the lines of the A gene being copied as Ã.

Re:makes sense to be (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476542)

Well, not exactly a crap-shoot...

http://anthro.palomar.edu/mendel/mendel_2.htm [palomar.edu]

Re:makes sense to be (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476700)

I was just trying to get the gist across... it was easier to say crap-shoot than go into recessive vs non-recessive gene description. Especially when Biology inst my field of study.

Re:makes sense to be (1)

spauldo (118058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475930)

There is a whole lot of variation you could get from the same two parents. Each parent contributes 23 chromosomes, and which chromosome gets contributed is random. The chances of any two children all getting the same set from each parent is extremely low (outside of twins and whatnot, but that's a different mechanism).

Re:makes sense to be (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476024)

but if parent's dna were copied exactly the same, then you wouldn't be much different from your brothers and sisters.

This is actually because of chromosomal crossover. You receive half your DNA from each parent. Without crossover, there'd be only 4 possible children per parent pair. However, during meiosis, sections of chromosomes swap positions, dramatically increasing the number of different possible offspring.

Still, mutation is the source of brand-new genotypes. It's critical to evolution (which is natural selection pressure applied to a population that reproduces with mutations), but it's still mutation.

Oh yeah? (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475664)

'We had previously estimated that parents would contribute an average of 100 to 200 mistakes to their child,'

My parents contributed 1000s of mistakes to me...

Quite the opposite (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475740)

... the mistake is you!

In Soviet Russia (2)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476318)

...mistakes make you! ...as, indeed, they do everywhere else...

Re:In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476528)

Mod parent insightful. :)

Good to hear words of wisdom early in the morning.

Less made? Or just less viable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475714)

What I recall from other sources is that the % of human blastocysts that naturally fail to develop is relatively high. A bit of googling should provide the details. This means that there's a filtering effect taking place, possibly as the result of previous rapid change reducing the elasticity.

Mutations don't matter for man's emergence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475858)

Mutations are not responsible for man's emergence-- see "On the Mystery of Innovation" on Amazon

Gosh, some editing would be nice (0)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475868)

Dear Slashdot,

[T]he average person is born with 60 genetic mutations, very few of which involve weather manipulation or an amazing healing factor. This number was less than expected, leading the researchers to believe human evolution happens more slowly than previously thought.

Is it too much to ask that editors be selected for skill with the English language? The way this is written, the summary is saying that "This number was less than expected" is referring to "very few of which involve weather manipulation...." Yes, I know what that's not what they meant. But if they're going to completely rewrite the summary from the original submission [slashdot.org] , they should at least do a good job.

Nature vs Nurture? (4, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475874)

"Sixty mutations may sound like a lot, but according to the international team of geneticists behind the new research, it is actually fewer than expected. 'We had previously estimated that parents would contribute an average of 100 to 200 mistakes to their child"

Don't worry, most parents are going out of their way to make up the difference and then surpass it.

Re:Nature vs Nurture? (1)

Dr. Scatterplot (1371103) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476120)

I'm consistently impressed that my would-be posts appear before I have even read the article. Clearly there are fewer variations between me and other /. readers than I had previously thought.

N=2 (1)

j4ckknife (1222282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475918)

I think it's woefully premature to generalize the results of this study to the entirety of humanity. These results are based off of the whole genome sequencing of *2* families, and as far as our technology and analytical methods have come, they still leave a lot to be desired. Besides, the key message isn't that we have a conclusive de novo mutation rate for humans (which we don't), but that the rate and mechanism of their creation can vary widely from family to family.

Re:N=2 (1)

j4ckknife (1222282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476092)

BTW I guess it wasn't clear from the above, but I expect that the estimate in the paper is low-balling it; the inadequacy of our methods lead to a lot of false negatives.

Re:N=2 (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476344)

The 1000 Genome Project has mapped just over 1000 whole genomes now. To get them to map that many entire families - well, it's going to cost a bit. You are right that N is way too low to do much with, though.

We have met the mutants and he is us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476056)

To mis-quote Walt Kelley

Dependent upon environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476074)

I'd imagine, if natural selection holds true, and I'd like to believe it does, that mutation frequency is variable with external environmental stressors. Adaptation breeds change, or something like that.

Junk DNA (1)

jspenguin1 (883588) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476208)

Most of these mutations are in "junk", or non-coding DNA. Almost all novel mutations to functional DNA are detrimental.

At Skepticon 3, PZ Myers gave an excellent presentation [youtube.com] about genetic mutation and adaptation. It's about an hour long, but definitely worth a watch.

Evolving faster than expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476242)

If we are evolving slower than expected than somone must have altered our genetic code to speed up our evolution. Maybe aliens? We haven't really seen evidence of gradual human evolution, there is still a gap where our brains grew enormously in a short period.

I resent the term 'mistake' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476342)

'Our genetic study, the first of its kind, shows that actually much fewer mistakes, or mutations, are made.'

Genetic algorithms themselves rely on mutations for success, do they not. It's what shakes things up and allows the algorithm to work.

The elites of the world formulate breeding, and so of course from their perspective, most of us plebians are 'mistakes' but many great minds in Science and Art come from mutations. All I would ask elites to do is consider how genetic algorithms work and make analogies with biological genetics.

Some smart ass can just say that computational genetic algorithms have nothing to do with biological genetics, but that's not true. Mutations are very useful. They're everywhere in nature. The universe has mutations. Let's not have an X-men war if we don't already.

Anyway, talking to myself helps me sleep at night. Leave me alone!

Rate of mutations? (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476420)

I wonder if the rate of mutations is higher or lower than in the past, and what it's trending.

mistakes (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476614)

We had previously estimated that parents would contribute an average of 100 to 200 mistakes to their child, ...

Non-genetically speaking, I'm sure the number will be much higher over the kids lifetime, and I'm sure those mistakes will be far more problematic. Hopefully, mistake #1 wasn't forgetting the birth control...

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