Fact-check: Can Genotype Change from AA to AS Over Time?
Claim: A 4-minute and 36-seconds Hausa video of an Islamic scholar, Mal Abbakar Muhammad Sadiq Pharmacy, based in Gombe State, recently surfaced on social media, claiming that a person’s genotype changes over time.
Full-Text: A video of the cleric which was widely shared by social media influencers claimed that a person’s genotype changes over time states, “You will find a person like myself whose genotype was AA and later changed to AS. My blood group is O. I underwent a genotype test before the solemnization of three of my marriages which revealed I was AA, but the last one I had at Pantami Hospital before marrying my fourth wife revealed that I am AS. Both Sunnah Hospital and Gidan Magani confirmed to me that I am AS. I am still AS according to their test.
“I had my first test in 2007, the second in 2012, the third in 2018 confirming my AA status be the last one in 2019 that changed to AS. An AS person has natural protection against Malaria while AA doesn’t…
“Truthfully, some people think that genotype of a person doesn’t change at all.”
Controversy: This claim generated widespread reaction from Social Media users as someone reacted thus: “Someone should explain pls, is it possible to transform from AA to AS? It’s very wrong for people to be talking about things they do not know about. This is misleading to his audience,” Zainab Nasir a Social Media user expressed while sharing the footage.
Verification: PRNigeria first used WhatsApp status by uploading the clip and requesting for identification of the claimant from its contacts. It immediately emerged that he was Mal. Abbakar Muhammad Sadiq Pharmacy, based in Gombe State. Therefore, using the social media search bar and relevant keywords, PRNigeria discovered that the claim originated from the claimer’s Facebook page on September 24, 2022 before it was reposted by a Social Media influencer.
A specialist, Dr. Mustapha Muhammad, who works with the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital spoke to PRNigeria on the matter.
According to him, the genotype doesn’t change at all but a phenotype – an individual’s observable traits, such as height, eye color and blood type – can change due to environmental factors.
“Medically, there are some certain factors that need to be critically observed when things like this happen. The previous results might either be faulty or the last one is. But the genotype is an inherent phenomenon that cannot be changed in an adult.
“I’ve never come across any academically compliant literature that shows that the genotype changes over time,” he said.
Similarly, Prof Tesfaye M. Baye, in an article published in January 2011, explained that the genotype remains constant though random mutations can cause it to change.
However, Prof Baye said that when the same genotype is introduced to different environments, it can produce a wide range of phenotypes and these variations can be attributed to the effect of the environment on the expression and function of genes that influence the trait.
The changes in the relative performance of genotypes in various environments are referred to as genotype-environment interactions (GEI), according to him.
A common disagreement for research on the impact of GEI in common diseases is that it provides insights into disease processes at the population, individual and molecular levels.
PRNigeria has put calls and sent messages to some of the hospitals mentioned in the video for further clarification on the matter but they didn’t answer the calls nor reply to the messages.
Conclusion: based on the available facts gathered by PRNigeria, the claim that the genotype changes over time from AA to AS and vice-versa lacks scientific basis. The claim is therefore unsubstantiated and FALSE.