We Mutants

“Now remember — you’re special, just like everyone else!”

It seems that classic punch line (for all the jokes on useless self-esteem boosters) was never truer.  At the ever-entertaining NeuroLogica Blog, Steven Novella explains recent findings that everyone is a mutant.

Given my numerous neurological quirks, I had long assumed my mutant status to be true, and when finally diagnosed with prosopagnosia (which can result from a single point mutation), I then took it to be a given.

As Novella, points out, not all mutations give one super-powers; in fact, most of mutations are neither beneficial nor detrimental.  There’s certainly nothing exciting about hyperacussis, as I’d previously described in Can you sue your Fairy Godmother for malpractice? Some things like the are just annoying; were I graceful, the hypermobility might have enabled me to be a dancer or gymnast.  Instead, I’m just arthritic and bruised, for all it’s handy to always be able to reach that itchy spot.

100 – 200 mutations per person may be trivial in the genomic sense, but is far from trivial when considering human diversity.  Mutation is normal.  It’s ubiquitous.  Not only are there no “perfectly average” people, but we’re all mutants.  Now, can we finally lay disablism, transphobia, and the rest of the xenophobic rot to rest?

Now ‘scuse me while I go for a soak in the tub; maybe I can distract meself from this silly jingle that’s gotten stuck in my head:

I’m a mutant, you’re a mutant, xe’s a mutant, too.

We’re all alike in our differences, so whatcha gonna do?


  1. 20 October 2009 at 21:13

    […] is no normal. We’re all mutants. And we will all, whatever our diagnoses or lack therof, be much happier if we can build a world […]

  2. greg said,

    9 September 2009 at 15:50

    great post

  3. andrea said,

    7 September 2009 at 4:12

    Disablism is about the “Othering”, the pity, fear, and other negative feelings that are projected onto people with disabilities because they are seen as not sufficiently normal or human to be acceptible. That everyone bears mutations simply adds to the argument that all people are People, and should be accepted as such regardless of the difficulties they face.


  4. lurker said,

    6 September 2009 at 4:46

    What does the ubiquity of mutation have to do with disability and “disablism”? I mean real mental disabilities, like ones that sometimes result from mutations that are harmful.

  5. 6 September 2009 at 3:20

    hehe I wrote a little thing about being a mutant some time ago. it took me awhile to find it (et tu, Google?)



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