Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Does a chinese boy have mutant cat eyes?

It's a story that has been going around the net for a few days now (have a google of it). And the answer is:

Uh.....no. At least, even with my imperfect knowledge of biology can tell me that it would be fantastically unlikely.

Don't get me wrong - the claims don't have to be totally false. But a cats eye is... well, a cats eye. To make a human eyeball into anything like one you'd need a total redesign - dozens of mutations, all happening to the same person, and all without any nasty side effects...... it's not totally impossible, but if that's what this is then I'm gonna say that there's been some artificial gene tampering done to this boy.

The eyes in question?

A totalitarian government experimenting on its citizens? Never!

Ok, paranoia aside, there is a single mutation that could explain this: If the gene that controlled how many light sensitive cells this kid has on the back of his eye was changed then it would improve his night vision, and it might give the back of his eyes a sheen. But that's a huge difference from 'cats eyes', both in what's (possibly) happened and in how powerful his enhanced night vision would be....