Thursday, June 24, 2004

Mutation Found in 'Muscle Man' Toddler
LINDA A. JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer

Somewhere in Germany is a baby Superman, born in Berlin with bulging arm and leg muscles. Not yet 5, he can hold seven-pound weights with arms extended, something many adults cannot do. He has muscles twice the size of other kids his age and half their body fat. DNA testing showed why: The boy has a genetic mutation that boosts muscle growth.

The discovery, reported in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, represents the first documented human case of such a mutation.

Many scientists believe the find could eventually lead to drugs for treating people with muscular dystrophy and other muscle-destroying conditions. And athletes would almost surely want to get their hands on such a drug and use it like steroids to bulk up.

The boy's mutant DNA segment was found to block production of a protein called myostatin that limits muscle growth. The news comes seven years after researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore created buff "mighty mice" by "turning off" the gene that directs cells to produce myostatin.

Read the full article here.

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