What it’s like to be special
The We Are Different film by RT Documentary reveals the stories of three people whose appearance has been altered due to a faulty gene and how that affected their lives.
Lalit has lived all his life covered with excessive hair. He had a hard time at school when he was bullied. Hulya had to endure 20 operations during her childhood because her feet were too weak, and she kept falling. Danil’s genetic disorder stopped him from growing at a young age.
A human being has about 25,000 genes, and when one of them is mutated or damaged, it can be reflected in how a person looks. According to Konstantin Severinov, Professor of Biological Science, “A gene is an extensive DNA sequence that codes something, a function. Parts of it can change, which can cause changes in the norm if there is such a thing as a ‘norm.’”
Today doctors can detect what changes are caused by specific genetic mutations, but since the number of genes is so big, there is still a lot to learn and explore. Besides, genetics as a science is still relatively young. “The double-helix model of DNA was first introduced only in 1953. And one of the authors of this beautiful concept, James Watson, is still very much alive,” points out Konstantin Severinov.
They know, for example, what damaged gene caused Hulya’s disorder, the split hands and feet. But the origin of Lalit’s hypertrichosis, the coarse hair growing, is still unknown. There are only a few documented cases of it, no more than 50-60 worldwide.
Watch our film to see how these people came to accept themselves for who they are and adjusted to being different.