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Read this news story from the journal Nature on a genetic mutation that eliminates the ability to feel pain.

  • How did scientists know that this was a genetic disorder?
  • What gene is involved in this condition, and why how does a mutation in this gene prevent the sensation of pain?
  • Why does this altered protein prevent pain sensation but not the sensation of touch, temperature, sight, or any other modality except pain? How is that possible?
  • Based on the mechanism of this disease, would you expect the mutant allele to be recessive or dominant?
  • Are the people affected by this mutation free of all types of pain?

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