“Hobbits” May Have Been Genetic Mutants

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 3, 2008   View Article

A rare disease characterized by small brain and body size but near normal intelligence is caused by mutations in a gene coding for the protein pericentrin, researchers have found.

The scientists speculate that the condition may explain the tiny, hobbitlike people that occupied a remote, Indonesian island about 18,000 years ago—adding fuel to the debate over whether the unusual creatures were a new species or just diseased modern humans.

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© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach