First things first: You're a mutant. But don't waste your time trying to fly or look through people's clothes, as your amazing mutant powers are "not having pseudopods" and "consisting of more than a single cell." All of evolution results from random changes in DNA, and now scientists have recorded the current rate of human mutation.
A global team of researchers recruited two men from a remote Chinese village. The subjects' family had lived their for over two centuries, leaving the men extremely distant relations (thirteen generations apart). By examining sections of their Y chromosomes and screening out mutations caused by the scientific work (which somehow failed to create an army of unstoppable mutant clones), the team worked out the rate of change of human DNA. (dhuman/dt, if you like.)
One in thirty million nucleotides mutate per generation - which doesn't sound much until you realise you have twelve billion of the things. You've got a couple of hundred errors in your cellular scripting, but luckily most don't do any damage. And not all of these changes are errors. The vast majority cause, "nothing", a minority cause "death", but an extremely special few can be beneficial. Scale up over entire species and hundreds of millions of years and you can end up with almost anything. As proven by the duck-billed platypus.
The discovery of this base mutation rate is an important discovery for the vital field of genetics. By comparing mutation rates between locations or even individuals, we can decode much more about our sicknesses, or our future. It could be used to molecularly date organic remains, and don't forget that the little problem of cancer is all about mutation. Now we've timed the ticking of the mutation clock, we'll see if we can stop or reset it.
We Are All Mutants http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/08/27/we.are.all.mutants
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