Are you always bumping into things? Do you wonder why you’re clumsier than your compatriots? It may all be down to genetics.
Scientists in the US have discovered a gene in humans that controls the ability to sense where parts of your body are in space, which may explain why some of us are more cack-handed than others.
Researchers found that two patients who share similarly rare symptoms, including balance issues and problems sensing touch, had a damaged gene in common.
In a series of tests, they discovered the pair found it almost impossible to to walk unaided or reach out for objects in front of them, if blindfolded. They also struggled to sense what direction their joints were being moved in unless they could see what was happening.
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The combination of spatial awareness problems and the mutant gene in these patients means the undamaged version most of us have likely controls our neglected ‘sixth sense’ - being able to direct our limbs without looking at them.
Other issues the two patients had, like a curved spine and joint problems, means the gene may also be involved in normal growth of the human skeleton.
When asked if the research could explain why athletes are more coordinated than the rest of us, one researcher told Science magazine it was “not impossible”.