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A slight mutation in the matched nucleotides c...

A slight mutation in the matched nucleotides can lead to chromosomal aberrations and unintentional genetic rearrangement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, I inadvertently tuned into this super-intellectual series called Sex, Death and The Meaning of Life on tv.

I admit that I was channel-hopping at the time, in search of something mindless (that wasn’t tennis), and when I heard the word sex meaning of life mentioned, for some reason I decided to give it that cursory twenty-second window of opportunity to either a) distract me from the temptation of my third glass of wine or b) test me to see if I was mature enough to follow it.

Much of the programme’s content, (like how atheists prepare for death when they have no faith and hence no belief in an afterlife (WTF!), obviously flew completely over my head, but the highlight for me was a look at the Genome mapping of the presenter, Richard Dawkins.

You see I come from a family where genetic mutation has played a devastating role. Due to a particularly heinous gene in our family DNA, many of my maternal relatives have inherited the issue of high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood, (hypercholestrolemia), and if left undetected this mutation can lead to heart attack very prematurely in life.

So the results of Dawkins Genome mapping were personally quite compelling. This study involves the creation of a genetic map assigning DNA fragments to chromosomes. My layman’s (idiot’s) understanding of the process is that those very clever scientists now have the ability to make a REALLY in-depth analysis of the genetic make-up of the individual, and can now spot all the mutations that a person may carry from their ancestors; and with such precision that they can even predict illnesses that people may be predisposed to in later life. The presenter’s Genome was so detailed that the mapping even confirmed that he is more likely to produce runny earwax.

Which got me thinking about some of the more minor mutations that I may have inherited; the ones that truly define my personality, and affect my everyday life quite intrinsically, such as:

  • My Obsessive Compulsivity – Because I am now forced to make a frustrating time allocation for the amount of time required to make a return journey to the house (usually 5 – 30 minutes after leaving) to check that I have turned off either the cook top, the iron or the aircon, when planning my day; I now refuse to enter the teens rooms if anything is littering the floor because the temptation to tidy up is too psychologically taxing; everything in my house seems to have evolved into a restful shade of Dulux ‘antique white’ (including the dog), and if a leaf lands on the lawn, I reach for a brown paper bag.
  • Not being able to say s…..ry – it rhymes with ‘lorry’.
  • Knowing I’m Always Right – I know this to be true.
  • My Lack of Co-ordination – proven by the permanent array of multi-coloured bruises that decorate my legs, the trophy stitches I acquired to my elbow during my first charity bike ride and the fact that I continually tip over during the balance poses in yoga.
  • The physical defect of having no discernible neck or inversion between my chin line and the top of my collar-bone, other than what appears to be an empty sack of tissue (embarrassingly similar in texture to the male scrotum). This means that 99.9% of photos taken of me have to be destroyed upon development.
  • My Un-roadworthy Driving Skills –see above for lack of co-ordination and the fact that I am always right, or this mutation might be linked to the fact that I even get lost with the aid of my GPS.
  • My Innumeracy – proven by the fact that no matter how many times the old man huffs with disbelief, I still cannot grasp the concept of the Exchange Rate system and spend much of my holidays abroad mistakenly believing that I’ve scored a bargain when I haven’t; or simply in a confused mental fug.
  • Wretching and convulsing at the taste of anything ‘sour’. The kids still think it is absolutely f*cking hilarious to pop a ‘sour’ lolly in my mouth when I’m driving. Which might go some way to explaining my questionable driving skills. (Executing Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ dance may also have something to do with my propensity for changing lanes without indicating).
  • My Infamous Dry Cough – the old man can testify to the dry cough that has haunted me for the last decade (luckily never metamorphosing into that terminal lung illness that I feared it would), with the unfortunate symptom of only appearing at night, when it is time to go to sleep. We have agreed to ‘separate bedrooms’ once the teens leave home and the pretense of still having a physical relationship can be put to bed.
  • My Intolerance To Small Talk – I can only talk to people who interest me and switch off rudely when bored. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be the caring, sharing type, pink and flowery and sugar-coated and my kids would undoubtedly have liked me to feign an interest in their passions of physics (!) and the history of the guitar (!!!). Unfortunately, the old man shares my intolerance so never invite us to a party because we are dull, dull, dull.  We cling to each other like limpets to a rock, and sneak out of the door at the first opportunity.

Which mutations do you recognise in yourself and who can you blame for passing them on to you?

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