We take many things in life for granted, like say our five senses. We forget that the ability to smell, taste, touch, hear and see is a blessing to be cherished; and that not all are born with the privilege of experiencing life’s myriad joys.
Born without a nose
Did you know that some babies are born without a nose? How then will they breathe? According to a Yahoo News report, babies born without a nose will require an incision in the windpipe in order to breathe while breastfeeding. They will never get to know the sense of smell. Later on in life, they may also develop eye and reproductive defects.
The mystery behind this rare condition was unknown until now, but A*STAR scientists in Singapore have recently cracked the code. They have identified the gene responsible for nose formation when the baby is in the mother’s womb.
Singapore scientists solve the mystery
Apparently, mutation of gene SMCHD1 causes the nose to not form, resulting in an extremely rare condition known as congenital arhinia. In fact so rare is this condition that fewer than 100 cases have been reported in medical literature since 1981.
The gene discovery, published in Nature Genetics on 9 January this year, was led by researchers from A*STAR’s Institute of Medical Biology, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology and Genome Institute of Singapore, together with a multinational team of researchers and clinicians based in France, Germany and Australia.
What is arhinia?
Arhinia is the absence of the nose and parts of the olfactory (the sense of smell) system. It can be congenital arhinia (where the person is born with it), or acquired arhinia (loss of nose to cancer, infection, or accident). It can be total, that is complete absence of the external nose and all/or parts of the olfactory system or partial, that is only parts of the external nose and olfactory system is missing.
(Source: Yahoo News Singapore)
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