Uner Tan Syndrome

By: Abhinay, Trisha, Alayna, Julie, and Nikheil


Unertan Syndrome (UTS) is a genetic mutation that was discovered by Turkish biologist, Üner Tan. According to the biologist, people affected with Unertan Syndrome are forced to walk on all fours; they also suffer from mental retardation and speech difficulty. This was discovered in 2005, when there was a huge debate on whether they were a product of reverse evolution. A 12-year-old boy developed quadrupedalism when he was 10 and walked on all fours to move quickly. This child was never able to speak and walk on his two legs.

Who is affected? Where is this disease located?

A case that is out of the normal is if one of a 36 year old man who in his infancy came down with a high fever that left him with a paralyzed leg because of a shot given to him to help the high fever. The man had no mental problem and no speech problems but walks on threes instead of the original finding, four because of his treatment at an early age. MRI scans came out normal and the man has a rich fluent speaking ability with the ability of mental comprehension. Scientists had yet to wonder when a cure for this disease will be available for the people in turkey to take. Scientists noticed a trend with many cases: The children’s parents share the same blood. In the Arab culture it is common to marry in your bloodline. This is mainly in the Arab region due to the fact that many people marry each other inside their own family. This family is located in a rural part of turkey. The family is large, with 12 normal children and five that were affected by this disease. There are 14 reported cases and about 3-4 families affected with this disease.

How are they affected? What are the symptoms?

The syndrome is known to cause mental retardation and a lack of coordination and balance when walking on all fours. Tan believed these unique children were part of reverse evolution, meaning their genes traced back to their early ancestors who walked like apes. In the initial cases of Uner Tan Syndrome, the distinctive and defining symptom of quadrupedalism was accompanied by a number of other cognitive and neurological problems, including especially cerebellar irregularities such as the inability to coordinate muscle movement, and intellectual deficits such as delayed or absent speech.

Which gene causes this disease?

Uner Tan syndrome shares some symptoms with other syndromes such as Disequilibrium Syndrome (DES-H), but there are also fundamental differences. DES-H is associated with nonprogressive autosomal recessive cerebellar hypoplasia with severe truncal ataxia, mental retardation, and hypotonia. Researchers claim the disorder to be an autosomal recessive disorder. Basically, when there are two copies of the abnormal gene are present, the person gets the Uner Tan syndrome. The gene that determines whether or not the person has Uner Tan syndrome is the VLDLR gene. This gene provides the instructions for making a protein called low density lipoprotein receptor. The VLDLR gene affects the development of the brain and the cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls a person’s movements, posture, and balance. Mutation or a deletion in this gene causes the person to have Uner Tan syndrome.

What is the life expectancy? What are the chances of getting this?

The life expectancy for a person who is affected by this disease is around 79 years. This is due to the alignment of their backs which over time can cause serious damage and result in death.This disease can have close to a full life expectancy which is of 83.3 years of age. The chances of getting this disease are 5/7,000,000,000. This is one of the most uncommon disease in the entire world. Also this disease's occurrence is mainly in one country rather than the entire world.

Possible Outcomes

Both parents are dominant
100% - Uner Tan syndrome is not present
0% - Uner Tan syndrome is present
0% - Carrier of Uner Tan syndrome

One parent is dominant and one parent is a carrier
50% - Uner Tan syndrome is not present
50% - Carrier of Uner Tan syndrome
0% - Uner Tan syndrome is present

Both parents are carriers
25% - Uner Tan syndrome is not present
50% - Carrier of Uner Tan syndrome
25% - Uner Tan syndrome is present

One parent is recessive and one parent is a carrier
50% - Carrier of Uner Tan syndrome
50% - Uner Tan syndrome is present
0% - Uner Tan syndrome is not present

Both parents are recessive
100% - Uner Tan syndrome is present
0% - Uner Tan syndrome is not present
0% - Carrier of Uner Tan syndrome

Levels of Organization

On the cell level:
On the cellular level, the VLDLR gene is affected. Either a mutation or a deletion in this gene can cause a person to have Uner Tan Syndrome.

On the organ level:
The muscles and the brain are affected. People with Uner Tan Syndrome have severe ataxia and major muscle impatient. In the brain, people with UTS are usually mentally retarded and have speech/language problems.

On the organism level:
As an organism, these people walk on all fours, have mental retardation, and cannot communicate well. Their muscle impairment and lack of coordination causes them to walk on all fours. Their mental retardation causes them to have cognitive disabilities. Since they cannot communicate well, they usually speak very little, if not at all.

On the population level:
In a population, there are only a few number of people with this syndrome and, therefore, don't affect the population that much.

Why is meiosis significant to sexual reproduction?

Meiosis is important to sexually reproducing because it is the process in which the sex cells are made. During meiosis, two diploid cells are transformed into four haploid cells. When a male's haploid sex cell (sperm cell) combines with a female's haploid sex cell (egg cell), a new organism, or baby, is made. This is why meiosis is crucial for the success sexual reproduction.

Survey Information:

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Sources Cited


"Uner Tan Syndrome Makes Family Walk On Fours." Medical Daily. 2014. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.


"Human, Quadruped: Uner Tan Syndrome, Part 1 | Neuroanthropology." Neuroanthropology. 2010. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.


"Uner Tan Syndrome Makes Family Walk On Fours." Medical Daily. 2014. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.


"Uner Tan Syndrome." Uner Tan Syndrome. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.


"Why A Turkish Family Walks On All Fours." YouTube. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.

Science Article:


Tan, Uner. "Uner Tan Syndrome: History, Clinical Evaluations, Genetics, and the Dynamics of Human Quadrupedalism." The Open Neurology Journal. Bentham Open. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.