General, Research, Technology

A mutation in the body helps people not to be afraid of the cold. How it works?

Many people freeze even at freezing temperatures.air, while others do not experience much discomfort even on cold winter evenings. According to Swedish scientists, this is due to a genetic mutation that helps some people retain heat inside their bodies for longer. To prove this, they recently conducted an experiment involving 42 men who were asked to sit in cold water until their body temperature dropped to 35.5 degrees. During the immersion in the water, they were tested and it turned out that people who are resistant to cold are indeed mutants. It sounds interesting and this is clearly an important discovery for the scientific community. Therefore, I propose to figure out what kind of mutation we are talking about.

In the photo - the Dutchman Wim Hof, who is not afraid of the cold

Why are people cold?

An important role in keeping warm in the humanthe body is played by muscles. They are composed of fast twitch white fibers and slow twitch red fibers. White fibers tire quickly, while red ones have more endurance. White fibers contain the protein α-actinin-3, and some people have more of it, while others have less. According to researchers' calculations, about 20% of the world's population, that is, about 1.5 billion people, is deficient in this protein. And this is due to a mutation in the genes that are responsible for the production of protein.

Genes affect our ability to keep warm

According to the author of the scientific work JoaquinWesterbland (Hakan Westerblad), people lacking in the protein α-actinin-3 retain heat better and tolerate cold climates more easily. The mutation, which led to the production of less protein, arose during the migration of people from warm Africa to the colder regions of our planet. Scientists have known about all this for a long time, only there was no experimental evidence. Scientists from Sweden decided to fill this gap.

See also: Why don't fish freeze in cold water?

The influence of genes on humans

In their experiment, 42men between the ages of 18 and 40. The researchers asked them to sit in 14-degree water until their body temperature dropped to 35.5 degrees. During the dive, the scientists took from them biopsy muscles, which allowed them to measure the levelprotein content α-actinin-3. As a result, it turned out that people with a lack of this protein actually retain heat inside their bodies longer. This is achieved by activating the slow twitch red fibers, which generate more heat than the fast fibers.

Muscles help us keep warm inside the body

Biopsy Is a research method in which a livinga tissue sample is taken from a person for further examination in the laboratory. In this case, scientists took samples of muscle tissue to find out their composition.

According to researchers, once upon a time a mutationin genes helped people quickly get used to the harsh conditions of central and northern Europe. Nowadays people have warm clothes, so the ability to keep warm is not much of a benefit. Perhaps this is why some people do not see this mutation. But the lack of the protein α-actinin-3 changes the body's response to exercise. As a rule, people with a deficiency do well at endurance exercises. But sports that require physical strength are not very suitable for them.

Do you know why hot and cold hurts us? Read the answer at this link.

How do I get tested for sports predisposition?

Find out if a person has a protein deficiencyα-actinin-3, you can pass special tests. This service is provided by private medical centers with laboratory diagnostics. Usually, tests are done in order to identify a person's genetic predisposition to a particular sport. During the procedure, a person takes venous blood and a smear from the inside of the cheek. The results are prepared within 10 days. The cost of the analysis for the α-actinin-3 protein is different everywhere. According to sources, the price fluctuates around 1000 rubles. Not so expensive, considering that thanks to this you can find out very interesting information about yourself.

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A high level of α-actinin-3 protein can bea sign that a person can do well in running sports. Some people have other mutations in their bodies that can give them superhuman abilities. For example, some genes can save people from fractures, while others can give a person protection from certain poisons. You can read more about these mutations at this link.