back to article Dawn of the X-Men? MUTANTS swarm AMONG US, say geneticists

Humanity has entered a new genetic era, according to a newly published study, with well over half the mutations found having occurred "recently". Potentially troublesome genetic changes are particularly common among those of European heritage compared to those with African forebears, the research shows. "The recent dramatic …


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  1. Neil Milner-Harris

    Imagine my disappointment

    At finding out that the ability to shoot frikkin' lazor beams out of one's eyes isn't possible

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So many

      Men developing Moobs, is this a mutation?

      1. Anonymous Coward 15

        Re: So many

        No, that's just the beer.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    I, for one, welcome our new Gripping Hand.

    1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox

      Re: Moties!

      What's this? A Niven/Pournelle fan? Well met, sir!

      I've used the gripping hand reference around my work and not one person gets the reference, even though we ar ea bunch of technophiles, and most are Science Fiction fans as well. I still need to read The Moat around Murcheson's Eye some day...

      1. IglooDude

        Re: Moties!

        Chalk up another one who using the "on the gripping hand" reference. Then again, I also tell people "we'll burn that bridge when we come to it" (making them wonder if I'm being cynical or just unintentionally mixing metaphors, if they catch it at all) so maybe they've filed me under "not to be closely listened to".

      2. SpeakerToAliens

        Re: Moties!

        In America "The Moat Around Murcheson's Eye" was published as "Gripping Hand". It included maps of various star systems and their Crazy Eddie Points.

        I knew I had to read it when I saw a short extract published online - very short in fact - it was just a few lines from a message Bury was writing. He signed off with "Horace Hussein Bury, aboard the starship Sinbad, somewhere in the Mote system. "

      3. __________

        Re: Moties!

        I suspect this is a post from him better known as "Speaker to Seafood".

      4. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Moties!

        Yeahyeahyeah, yooda cultural reference king.

        But do you know who Crazy Eddie really was?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Moties!

          Didn't he write a GUI?

    2. stucs201

      Re: Moties!

      Be careful which Niven race you bring into this. Pak Protector style behaviour would be bad news for those with too many mutations.

      1. Katie Saucey
        Thumb Up

        Re: Moties! : Pak Protectors

        Not to worry we haven't polluted the earth with thallium oxides yet. But IIRC certain thallium oxides are used in some high temp super conductors, so maybe in a few decades we could see "tree of life" plants sprouting up all over the place.

  3. AndrueC Silver badge

    So, is being able to leap tall buildings in one bound in or out?

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      At least scaling tall buildings at the push of a button is in :)

    2. Thorne

      "So, is being able to leap tall buildings in one bound in or out?"

      Over yes. Off is still fine.

    3. Joefish

      Re: " to leap tall buildings..."

      I don't know, but running faster than the trains wouldn't count for much these days.

  4. Bill Neal
    Thumb Up


    even a little enhanced mental abilities would be useful for avoiding the dystopian Idiocracy future

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ESP?

      "the dystopian Idiocracy future"

      Judging by current and recent governments, and current and recent oppositions, we already live in a dystopian Idiocracy.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: ESP?

      no need to enhance what we've got - just use some of it.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: ESP?

        What we need is some sort of distributed processing system along the lines of Seti@home and the like which can use spare human brain capacity that is otherwise going unused.

        We'd probably have the cure(s) for cancer and interstellar travel within weeks or months.

        1. PhilBuk
          Big Brother

          Re: ESP?

          @John Brown (no body)

          Rossum Corporation already got there. "Welcome to the attic."


  5. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    I'd have more to say on the subject

    But it's damn hard to type with these adamantine claws in the way.....

    1. dotdavid
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'd have more to say on the subject

      Don't worry, I could read your mind and see what you were going to post. Very insightful, by the way.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    self and a mate, lying on sofas in our student house just over a quarter of a century ago, came up with a theory that this was happening and would eventually be shown to occur.

    We weren't (and aren't) scientists, but were ably assisted by the consumption of a sizeable quantity of, err, things that one is not strictly speaking meant to consume.

    We even theorised that at some point organ transplantation and the like might start to be considered, err, let's say "not flawless", as it would enable those with genetic weaknesses in organs spread their genes more easily before they died off.

    Who knew that L(ying on a) S(ofa in the) D(ark) gave you Nostradamus-like powers!

    Or maybe me and him are just mutants.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Astute Active NEUKlearer Control Sub Missions ... MOD £s at Work, Rooting out Sources for Great News

      Who knew that L(ying on a) S(ofa in the) D(ark) gave you Nostradamus-like powers! ..... Anonymous Coward Posted Thursday 29th November 2012 16:15 GMT

      And now that you know, AC? Who is able to wield it understandably, with Admirable Control?

      Regular Army, Navy, Air Force or Special Forces in the Field? Manchurian Candidates for Candy Dates in Private and Piratical Places ..... Super Spaces would be Perfect Play Team Mates.

      1. Graham Dawson

        Oh gawd. I just realised I've spent the last ten minutes trying to decipher amanfromMars...

        1. Katie Saucey


          Damn it! Your comment suckered me into it too.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Sir Sham Cad

    Science finally answers the big question.

    That explains Julian Assange, then.

    1. magickmark
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Science finally answers the big question.

      Nothing explains Julian Assange!

  8. DJ Smiley

    Supprised why?

    Hmmmm not surprising

    I heal incredibly fast - fast enough that doctors and nurses after operations have commented on how quickly I've recovered. I also recover quickly from anesthetic as well.... leading to some weird effects when I wake up far sooner than they expect.

    Genetic mutation? I'd think so, and its quite common too..... though it won't spread much as it doesn't really give any ability to live longer/stronger/faster than anyone else.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Supprised why?

      On the contrary. You will have more hope of surviving an Alien's sting.

      Good look, Marine. You can obtain your Impulse Rifle using this one-time pass.

      Semper Fi!

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: I heal incredibly fast

      Quick, get the adamantium ready!!

    3. squigbobble

      Re: Supprised why?

      Sounds like you've got an unusually fast cellular metabolism which'd make you metabolise drugs faster than normal or you just have hyperthyroidism. It could also cause you to slightly overdose on drugs that rely on you metabolising them into their active form at a certain rate.

      I can square root numbers in my head but only accurately if the root is a whole number. That's not a mutation, I'm just sad.

    4. Anonymous John

      Re: Supprised why?

      Goa'uld symbiote?

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Supprised why?

        My wife seems to be able to urinate more than she imbibes, and usually within about 5 minutes. She's always surprising the medics :)

        1. PhilBuk

          Re: Suprised why?

          It's a common mutation in women. Tourist trips with my wife turn into a tour of public conveniences ('just in case'). A trip to Stockholm was interesting as the Swedes don't do public toilets. Lots of little beers and coffees as we leapt from cafe to cafe.


          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: Suprised why?

            Well, we live in Wales now, so I'm constantly scanning the side of the road for laybys where she can drop her kegs and piss on her boots :D

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every cloud...

    I guess one day we'll face the end of the world. Only then will we know who got the useful mutations...

  10. Z-Eden

    As long as we don't mutate to an extend where we'd need to be encased in bonded polycarbide armour...

  11. CyberCipher

    White people are...

    FREAKS! (I've long suspected that it was so. Now we have PROOF.)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Mutations are introduced in each new child (particularly if he or she has an older dad)"

    It would be one hell of an impressive mutation if the child had a younger dad!

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: "Mutations are introduced in each new child (particularly if he or she has an older dad)"

      "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" established the scientific basis and all.....

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward be from all that inbreading.....

    1. Jean-Luc Silver badge

      inbreading is indeed a very serious problem.

      Gotta regulate those bakeries some more.

    2. John A Blackley

      I'm sorry but I'm a European and I prefer my breading on the outside.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Bread it up your ass!

        So Jewrope is not being swarmed by Mooslims and Yougoslavs, then?

        Mine is the one with "Attila Bread Me" on the back.

        1. Marshalltown

          Re: Bread it up your ass!

          What Attila wasn't "bread you."

    3. Androgynous Crackwhore

      Don't mean to poop on the prejudice...

      ...but I expect the reason(s) would be altogether more mundane.

      I blame the weather. Naturally.

      The more shitty the weather, the more smoke-filled one's hovel... and the more time you'll be spending in it... especially those interminably long cold wet winter nights. Lob a crapload of magic mushrooms and dodgy mead into the fug to help pass the time and... well... after 10000 years of that, I'm amazed we didn't do a lot worse than blue eyes and gingers!

  14. Alexander Ward
    Thumb Up

    I could be a mutant!

    I seem to be able to do things that (most) other people can't. For example I can increase/decrease my heart rate and blood pressure at will. I can regulate my own temperature and I have an above average lung capacity.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: I could be a mutant!

      You are just a fancy thermostat.

    2. Thorne

      Re: I could be a mutant!

      I've met some mutants who have the power to annoy people by opening their mouth

      Does this count?

    3. Androgynous Crackwhore

      Re: I could be a mutant!

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I'm afraid I'm about to poop all over your parade too:

      I seem to be able to do things that (most) other people can't. For example I can increase/decrease my heart rate and blood pressure at will.

      We can all do that! For example, somewhat ironically, when pooping.

      I can regulate my own temperature

      Yep. We all do that one too. Been around for millions of years I'm afraid.

      I have an above average lung capacity.

      You swim/dive then? Being active is jolly laudable and all but I don't really think it qualifies you as "mutant"


      1. moiety

        Re: I could be a mutant!

        "Being active is jolly laudable and all but I don't really think it qualifies you as "mutant""

        It might on this forum.

    4. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: I could be a mutant!

      I have a well above average beer capacity ;-)

      Being a Scandinavian, I can break down alcohol faster and cleaner than most people. This extraordinary mutant power undoubtably comes from selection pressure: Any viking, who procreated, could handle an axe, a woman and someone calling his mead poof while being drunk ...

  15. Chuckterzella

    I can see the results of these studies everytime I look in the damned mirror, so don't rub it in, okay?

  16. sisk Silver badge

    Mine is useful

    Back before I gave up alcohol I could drink insane amounts of liquor and not be affected overly. I once proved that I could down a fifth of whiskey and then pass a sobriety test (though it wasn't administered by cops). On more than one occasion I managed to remain on my feet and able to walk even after imbibing quantities of alcohol that left men triple my size sprawled on the floor (such as, in one case, a full bottle of tequila), and no matter how drunk I got (which was a pretty expensive proposition, so it didn't happen often) I was stone sober an hour after I quit drinking. This despite the fact that at the time I was skinny by any definition. Unlike with most heavy drinkers, I did not build up a resistance over time: my first drink was when a group of friends thought it might be fun to get me to pass out and failed when I drank them all under the table.

    Does that qualify as a mutant power?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mine is useful

      I seem to remember it is a known genetic thing.

      Japanese colleagues once told me that it most of them could do this.

    2. AnoNymousGerbil

      Re: Mine is useful

      I have similar problem. To get drunk is damn expensive because of amount alcohol needed :/

      Other interesting thing is that I never get hangover at all no matter how much I've been drinking.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mine is useful

      Did you drive better after that much too?

      1. sisk Silver badge

        Re: Mine is useful

        Did you drive better after that much too?

        Dunno. I was never dumb enough to try.

  17. VinceH Silver badge


    Oh well. I guess our secret's out of the bag now, then. Next thing, the government will put together a team to track us down, using a small group of our own kind against us.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      " using a small group of our own kind against us." to write a script for a TV series to eat our brains.

  18. Lars Silver badge

    Calm down

    Life is mutant from the beginning and Dr. Suzanne Leal, professor of molecular and human genetics has to have something to write about. Personally I am waiting for the blonde Chinese girls. Nothing against the black but mutant would be nice.

  19. bag o' spanners

    Please don't mention this to homo-erectus. You'll only excite him.

  20. chiller

    I have just telepathically sent my views on this subject to all readers.

    Nothing? pfft ... 'normal' freaks.

  21. Lloyd

    Well of course mutants are among us

    Who here has never watched some gentlemen's entertainment and thought "good lord, that chap is some sort of mutant, that thing's huge"?

  22. Alex King


    So, in developed nations, we're living longer, reproducing later and surviving previously lethal congenital abnormalities until reproductive age - and our level of mutations is going up as a population. What a massive surprise!

  23. oldcoder

    Actually, put it down to the invention of pants...

    After all, it has already been shown that raising the thermal environment of the male genitalia raises the mutation rate.

    So if you ladies want normal... go marry a Scotsman.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actually, put it down to the invention of pants...

      ... a somewhat whimsical definition of "normal".

  24. BillboBaggins

    Mutants You say!

    Mutants you say! I for one feel like in Huxley’s “Brave New Office” and I’m surrounded by Deltas/Epsilons

  25. Dries Marais

    MUTANT? My word....

    " with the Europeans as they moved out of Africa and became more pale-skinned to cope with the lack of sunlight."

    Really now - that is why they turned white? Pray tell what smell had caused the nose to become narrow and prominent IN FRONT of the teeth and chin line?

    And what had caused the frontal brain box to assume the flattened, barely slanted and exceedingly forward position in line with the chin?

    And what had completely reshaped the totally different ear shape and geometry?

    And what had caused the totally geneticaly new ability to design and build structures like bridges and wheels and develop writing which in two million years to this day had never occurred in Africa?

    And ALL the above in an astoningly momentary revolutionary flash of evolution over about 16 000 years? My word... truly amazing, some scientific opinion is.

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