Photo: "Hobbits" May Have Been Genetic Mutants



Normal human fibroblast cells grow on a glass slide, with the protein pericentrin stained in red.

A new study has found that defects in the gene encoding pericentrin are responsible for a rare growth condition, which the scientists say could explain the size of the 18,000-year-old "hobbit" fossil found recently in Indonesia.

The protein helps control the separation of chromosomes during cell division, which is essential to growth.

Image courtesy Anita Rauch/Science


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