It’s safe to assume that when many of us think of Down Syndrome, we assume only humans can have it. But what is this condition? It’s a genetic mutation where chromosome 21 has three copies, as opposed to two. Humans have 23 chromosome pairs, and pair 21 is involved in Down Syndrome. This occurs when the cells divide abnormally, leading to a third copy of chromosome 21. This mutation in chromosome 21 leads to a severe reduction in intelligence, which is a common feature in those afflicted with Down Syndrome.
This condition can cause mental disability, a wide array of health issues, and other unique physical features, but it doesn’t mean that those with Down get to stay down. People born with Down Syndrome are able to do amazing stuff in school, in the athletic world, in movies, and also in beauty pageants. But did you know that humans aren’t the only creatures who can develop Down Syndrome? But as you’ll notice, it doesn’t keep these guys down!
Did you know that Down Syndrome can affect something as powerful as a lion? Scientists are still trying to figure out if humans and animal suffer similar effects. Some believe that apes and chimpanzees are the only creatures that are born with this condition because their genes are similar to humans. But others believe that the genetic mutation on chromosome 21 can be found in other species as well. Either way, this lion is still king of the forest!
The truth is that genetic mutations can occur in any living thing, and while these creatures may seem different, they still warrant attention and lots of love. But admittedly, if you ran into this guy in the woods, you probably wouldn’t want to hug him or anything. After all, just because he’s totally adorable doesn’t mean he doesn’t have wild instincts!
A white tiger named Kenny was born in Turpentine Creek, a refuge for wildlife located in the Southern part of the United States. He was diagnosed with Down Syndrome but he sadly passed away back in 2008. He was known as an inbred because his parents were related. Yes, Kenny’s folks were brother and sister, which lead to his genetic abnormality.
It’s believed that since animals have genetic sequences, they also have chromosome pairs that are ordered just like any species. This means that chromosomal anomalies similar to Down Syndrome can occur, leading to physiological and cognitive issues. These issues can also include anatomical alterations which alter the physical characteristics of the animals, such as this adorable looking sloth.
Do dogs have Down Syndrome? That remains debatable. PetMD states that dogs have 39 pairs of chromosomes versus people who have 23 pairs. This suggests that the partial or full mutation of chromosome 21 would have a completely different effect in a pooch. But this doesn’t mean that dogs would develop characteristics similar to Down Syndrome. Still, did you imagine a dog looking cuter than this?
Koalas are known for hanging around in trees in their native Australia, and they’re usually munching on something green cause they’re herbivores. But this koala is more noticeable with his wide-eyes, which remind us that his genetic makeup makes him even cooler every time he bites into more and more foliage.
Can cats get Down? Cats have 19 chromosome pairings, unlike dogs who have a larger number of chromosomes. This makes it impossible for Chromosome 21 to triplicate. But cats do have neurological and physical abnormalities of their own, and some of them are related to chromosomal mutation. But fortunately for them, Down Syndrome isn’t something they can get.
An ape’s genetic structure is very similar to human beings. They have 24 chromosomal pairs, giving them a total number of 48 chromosomes. As a result, apes, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans can develop trisomy 22, which is similar to Down Syndrome, because this means that chromosome 22 has tripled. But this doesn’t stop them from having the time of their lives and swinging through trees!
As far as mammals go, giraffes are obviously the tallest ones. Their legs are about 6 feet, which is taller than most humans. This allows them to run at 35 miles an hour over short distances, so good luck catching them. Even their cruising speed is 10 mph. The spots on a giraffe are similar to our fingerprints. Every giraffe has their own unique pattern. But just because these creatures are bigger than us, it doesn’t make them any less sublime!
Guinea pigs are such gentle creatures that they make excellent pets for young children. But even with a genetic abnormality, they continue to be absolutely adorable! If anything, the mutation adds to their cuteness. Besides, guinea pigs have five different kinds of hair that cover their entire body. This makes every one of them unique individuals.
Can you see what this sheep is doing? It’s smiling happily, with a face that’s covered in wool. Just looking at this little fellow can brighten anyone’s day. Down Syndrome may set these animals apart from the other herd, but it doesn’t mean that they have no place among the vast world of animals. As a matter of fact, this makes them even more special than other creatures.
Can horses get Down Syndrome? Yes they can! They can suffer from a condition similar to Down Syndrome called autosomal trisomy, where a particular chromosome is triplicated, instead of having two pairs of each chromosome. Horses with this condition often have angular limb deformities, a domed skull, scoliosis, an overbite, metabolic disorders, and neurologic deficits. But none of these things stop them from making everyone who meets them fall in love with them!
Whether we have a long neck, spots or no spots, two legs or four, or an abnormal chromosomal count, we’re all a lot more similar than we realize, regardless of our genetic makeup. And what one individual might see as a disability, others see as a major advantage to put a spotlight on the things that make them both unique and lovable!