From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Polydactyly
Mains level : Social boycott practices in India
A 63-year-old woman in a village in Odisha had been boycotted by the community as a “witch” because she was born with 12 fingers and 20 toes. The woman’s condition is known as polydactyly.
- It is a birth defect in which humans and animals have supernumerary fingers or toes.
- In other words, a person suffering from the congenital anomaly of polydactyly will have more than five digits in a particular hand or foot.
- In most cases, the extra digits can be surgically removed; the procedure gets more challenging if there is bone with the skin and tissue, and most difficult when the bone has a joint.
- The defect develops during the sixth or seventh week of gestation, when an irregularity occurs in the splitting of the fingers from the hand or foot, creating an extra digit.
- Causes are believed to be genetic, in some cases hereditary.
- It is reported in perhaps one or two children per 1,000 live births, and could be the most common abnormality of development seen in newborns worldwide.
- The defect is also seen in cats, dogs, cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, geese, and sometimes horses.