a little east of reality

Friday, October 10, 2008

extra! extra! read all about it!

Gemma Arterton has revealed she "was born with the condition known as polydactyly, which affects one in every thousand children." Actually Wiki claims the figure is more like 1 in 500, but the number is predominantly high amongst Africans and the article may have been giving the figure for Australia, or maybe the UK from whence Arterton hails.

Okay, so the most recent births figure I could find was for 2006. In that year there were 265,900 births in australia. That means that in one year, around 265 babies are born in Australia with extra fingers or toes. I find that flabbergasting. How is it that I have never heard of a single baby with this condition? You'd think word would get around. I know one person who was born with six fingers on each hand (Garry Sobers...six toes on each foot as well), but he's in his 70s and he was the only one I ever knew, so I always thought the condition was much more rare.

Apart from garden variety genetic flaws like myopia (short-sightedness), I only have one interesting-ish oddity ~ an extra vertebrae. My dad and my sister are both missing the two teeth in between the front teeth and the canines. My dad never got wisdom teeth. I only had one before it was taken out, and it was small and thin. My mum's right hand little finger is bent and two of her sisters have exactly the same feature.

Genetics is so fascinating. Anyone else got any interesting genetic oddities or extras?

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