Super Human Part 3 - Super Strength

December 5, 2011

Torah Kachur

Everyone knows about mutations - they create the X-men after all.  The level of mutation that would have to happen to get to actually get a Rogue or Mystique would be well beyond the standard levels of genetic variation we see in our current population.  But it doesn't mean that there aren't mutants walking among us that hold special superpower potential.

Take Liam Hoekstra for example, as a toddler he could do chinup after chinup while showing off his six-pack. 



Liam contains a rare mutation in the myostatin receptor.  Myostatin, also known as growth differentiation factor 8, is a gene that causes double the normal muscle production when it is missing.  Liam's mutation is in the receptor, but a much more common mutation that has been discovered is upregulation of the myostatin gene itself.  The initial discovery of the gene was in a strain of Mighty Mice - mice that had the myostatin gene experimentally deleted,...the researchers did not report, however, if the mice had red capes


Myostatin normally is responsible in development to control the amount of muscle produced, when there is too much it results in a condition called hypertrophy - which I like to call - really hot bulging muscles.   Animals have been discovered with similar conditions - the Belgian Blue cattle have seriously ripped striploins and juicy steak muscles, which is a cash cow for farmers that could feasibly have half the cattle carrying twice the meat.  And wouldn't Michael Vick love a double-muscled dog?



Is this a superhuman?  Hardly, double the strength of a human is still pretty pathetic.  It is hardly leaping over buildings in a single bound.  But, it's a start in thinking that humans have potential in our genes to become just like Superman.



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