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"Double Muscle" Mutants
July 13, 2007 7:02 PM   Subscribe

Myostatin is a genetic protein that affects muscle growth in humans and animals. Scientists have learned a lot about this protein from a noticeable myostatin mutation common in the Whippet dog breed. Whippets with one mutant copy of the gene are faster, so these are desirable for racing dog breeders. But selective breeding has caused increased instances of both copies of the myostatin genes mutating, which results in "double muscle" Incredible Hulk dogs!?
posted by p3t3 (27 comments total)

 
That dog is diesel.
posted by Ricky_gr10 at 7:10 PM on July 13, 2007


Really, if you think about it, pretty sad. They've bred a dog that has problems, and a shortened life....
posted by HuronBob at 7:13 PM on July 13, 2007


Mark my words, some day the dogs are going to take over. Then we'll all be in deep shit.
posted by chillmost at 7:13 PM on July 13, 2007


Hulk cattle, sheep and meeses**, too.

*scroll down for a pic of the most muscular cow butt you'll ever see in your life.

**After I read that article a while back, I had a fever dream about one of these Arnold mice kicking my cat's ass and coming after me with a mousetrap. No more G&Ts after dinner.
posted by jamaro at 7:21 PM on July 13, 2007


The same gene is mutated in Belgian Blue cows, giving the "double muscled" phenotype. I got to see some of these cows in New Zealand (when you're an endocrinologist in a farming country it's all about making more beef, more wool, more milk).

("genetic protein"? Yeah, proteins are coded by genes; it's kind of a redundant phase)
posted by gaspode at 7:23 PM on July 13, 2007


damn you, jamaro!
posted by gaspode at 7:24 PM on July 13, 2007


That Whippet could kick my ass. But it's still so cute!@
posted by god hates math at 7:26 PM on July 13, 2007


Three years ago, the first confirmed myostatin-deficient human (NEJM, subscrip req'd) was discussed on metafilter.

Some pics from the NEJM article appeared online, and that kid had some huge muscles, even for a toddler.

Now he's eight.
posted by borborygmi at 7:45 PM on July 13, 2007


Whatever company first develops a myostatin blocker* will make a fortune. It will truly be a bodybuilder-in-a-bottle scenario.

*There are a lot of scam products out there already which claim to do this, but none of them actually work.
posted by Potsy at 7:45 PM on July 13, 2007


Supposedly, there is a myostatin deficient adult as well.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:48 PM on July 13, 2007


Not sure if this is the same toddler as the one mentioned above. I don't think it is, this one lives in Michigan.


"For Liam, the condition has one potential drawback: Infants and toddlers need some body fat to feed brain growth and the development of the central nervous system."


Clearly this kind of thing has unexpected consequences.
posted by Defenestrator at 8:14 PM on July 13, 2007


Whatever company first develops a myostatin blocker will make a fortune. It will truly be a bodybuilder-in-a-bottle scenario.

Ain't gonna happen (although I'm sure there will be supplements advertised as such, as you say). There are more drawbacks than pluses here, starting with an enlarged heart ... which is also a muscle. ;-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:44 PM on July 13, 2007


While her head, heart, lungs and legs are the size of those of a normal whippet, her gene defect means she is "double muscled".

The heart muscle is smooth muscle tissue, and I'd guess from the above quote (from the hulk dog link) is not affected by myostatin deficiency.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:18 PM on July 13, 2007


He's buff. You know all the bitches want him.
posted by John of Michigan at 11:04 PM on July 13, 2007


Goddamn it. See, this is what happens when you carry a gene that makes you think that posting on MetaFilter is a GREAT idea after a night of drinking. You see, the whippet in question is, in fact, a bitch. Thus, I can't imagine a pack of whippet bitches wanting this particular bitch.

Please kindly disregard my previous comment about the bitches.
posted by John of Michigan at 11:09 PM on July 13, 2007


Whatever company first develops a myostatin blocker will make a fortune.....

Welcome to the wonderful world of my refrigerator!

That being said, biologics tend to be more difficult to produce and have lower yields, so they tend to be really pricey. Track down the prices of some other therapeutic antibodies. You're gonna have to REALLY want to bulk up.

I'm guessing that this will be a more profitable compound, but I naively believe that people will spend more money on not having heart disease than they will on having big pecs.

(The preceding assumes that the compounds in question make it through clinical testing and appear safe and effective enough to recieve agency approval. I also want a pony.)
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:43 PM on July 13, 2007


Sadly, her mixed-up genes mean she may have a shorter life expectancy than most breeds.

...yeah because someone is going to shoot this dog on sight out of pure fear. Holy crap. Imagine a pit bull this ripped.
posted by salishsea at 12:22 AM on July 14, 2007


Ain't gonna happen (although I'm sure there will be supplements advertised as such, as you say). There are more drawbacks than pluses here, starting with an enlarged heart ... which is also a muscle. ;-)

The heart muscle is smooth muscle tissue, and I'd guess from the above quote (from the hulk dog link) is not affected by myostatin deficiency.

Myostatin only affects skeletal muscle. There are no known serious complications of a deficiency, and certainly no cardiac problems. Read the articles, especially the one about the Michigan boy. That doctor does not seem at all worried about the boy's health.

BTW, the American boy is a little different in that he doesn't lack a proper myostatin gene, rather his cells don't respond to it. His condition may also be autosomal dominant, since the article mentions that his father is also unusually strong, but his mother isn't mentioned as having that trait.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:04 AM on July 14, 2007


It's okay John, the "lipstick" whippets are all over her.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:41 AM on July 14, 2007


Imagine a pit bull this ripped.

Okay. Now imagine a black market in myostatin-deficient pit bulls. Now imagine drug dealers and assorted thugs willing to shell out mad $$$$ to have them. And finally imagine local police departments adopting a "shoot on sight" policy out of naked fear.
posted by pax digita at 5:21 AM on July 14, 2007


That dog, will walk you.
posted by doctorschlock at 9:07 AM on July 14, 2007


Assuming this doesn't actually shorten the animal's life or cause them any discomfort, I would love to see other animals with this mutation.

Can you imagine a horse? Or a rhino? I'd like to see some poacher go after an elephant with this condition.

It would be like something out of a horror movie.
posted by quin at 11:39 AM on July 14, 2007


Okay. Now imagine a black market in myostatin-deficient pit bulls. Now imagine drug dealers and assorted thugs willing to shell out mad $$$$ to have them. And finally imagine local police departments adopting a "shoot on sight" policy out of naked fear.

That's an incredibly American train of thought, and as a fellow USA-dweller, it makes sense.
posted by maus at 5:43 AM on July 15, 2007


More pictures.
posted by jamaro at 8:52 AM on July 15, 2007


Maus, that's not just an American train of thought, but the French may wind up creating myostatin-deficient monkeys instead.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:58 PM on July 15, 2007


WTF is an "American train of thought?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:25 PM on July 16, 2007


I just echoed Maus, but I presume he means the application of a new discovery to violence and mayhem.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:41 PM on July 17, 2007


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