Genetic evidence for the sixth sense

  Human beings have five basic sensory functions: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. This is not controversial. But some people insist that humans also have a mysterious sixth sense that can perceive seemingly invisible objects. Hollywood even made a movie of the same name, claiming that someone can meet the dead and even talk to them, which is not reliable.
  However, the scientific community does have the term “sixth sense”, which refers to humans’ perception of their own spatial position. The scientific term is called “Proprioception”. This sixth sense is difficult to describe in simple and popular language. One is because it is about the feeling of one’s body, which everyone is not surprised; the other is because the formation mechanism of this feeling is more complicated and requires the use of the whole body’s sensory organs. (Especially the sense of touch) to complete, unlike the other five senses, there are specialized organs responsible for execution.
  If any biological trait is difficult to study, try to remove it and see how it will behave after losing this trait. It is difficult to find people who are born with a sixth sense. Professor Carsten Berneman, a child neurophysiologist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was lucky enough to find two. Both are women, one is 9 years old and the other is 19 years old. Initially, the two people attracted the attention of doctors because of the varying degrees of deformation of the hip joints, fingers, toes and spine. Bernemann found that they also had some common symptoms, including unstable walking, uncoordinated limb movements, etc. , The clinical manifestations are very similar, and they are likely to suffer from the same genetic disease.
  Professor Berneman measured the genome sequence of the two and found that the PIEZO2 gene of both had mutations, which caused the gene to lose its activity. This PIEZO2 gene has long been studied and found that it is related to the formation of touch. There is a similar gene in mice, so researchers have tried to remove the PIEZO2 gene from mice to see what the result will be. Who knows that the mice that have the PIEZO2 gene removed all died without exception, and the study could not be carried out.
  Amazingly, the two girls who lost this gene are not only alive, but also generally healthy, which aroused the great interest of Professor Berneman. After further research, it was found that both of them had problems with the skin sensory function and could not feel the vibrating tuning fork. If you gently brush the palms of two people with a soft brush, neither of them can feel it. But if you use a soft bristled brush to gently brush the hairy skin, although the two can feel it, it feels like someone is piercing a small needle, not like most people will have a good feeling.
  The next series of test results are even more shocking. Although the two girls walked unsteadily with their eyes open, they couldn’t tell if they didn’t look closely. If they blindfolded the two of them, they would stop walking, and they would not even be able to stand still. Someone must be supported to prevent them from falling. In another test, the researchers asked two people to put their fingers on the tip of their noses, and then stretch out to touch objects not far in front of the tip of the nose. When the eyes are open, both of them can easily complete this action. With eyes, most normal people can do it easily, but they can’t do it at all. The hand that stretches out is far from the object in front of the nose.
  Finally, the researchers blindfolded the eyes of the two girls, and then grabbed their forearms with their hands, and either lifted them up or down. The two subjects could not tell where their forearms were. This shows that the two of them are completely unaware of the spatial position of their bodies.
  Professor Berneman wrote the results of the research into a paper and published it in the “New England Journal of Medicine” on September 21, 2016. Berneman believes that the PIEZO2 he discovered is the sixth sense gene that the scientific community has been looking for for a long time. People who lack this gene have normal temperature and tingling sensations, but lack the sense of touch, which leads to their spatial position on their body. There is no concept. The reason why such a person’s spine, fingers and other parts will be bent and deformed is that the body cannot feel the correct position of the bones during their development, and finally can only “blindly grow”.
  Professor Berneman pointed out in the paper that many human actions actually require the sixth sense, such as playing the piano, typing, and shifting gears when driving a car. You don’t have to look at it with your eyes, and you know where to put your hands by feeling. , Where to exert force, people who lack the sixth sense cannot make these movements.
  Furthermore, Professor Berneman believes that there are different subtypes of the PIEZO2 gene in the human population, which leads to differences in the perception of their body position among different people. The result is that some people always appear very clumsy when doing movements, and others People are extremely agile. This is especially worthy of the attention of the majority of middle and elementary school physical education teachers. Students who are “clumsy” should not be easily scolded in the future. They are likely to be born lacking in this ability.