He stood about 2.4m tall, earned his living from street shows and died at 22. Now researchers have found that Charles Byrne, the most famous giant in medical history, sprang from a mutant gene that first appeared 1500 years ago and is still causing excessive growth in families in the same area of Northern Ireland where he was born.
The current "race of giants" is concentrated in a small area, but researchers requested its location not be disclosed to protect residents from curious onlookers.
After the discovery, doctors screened four families from the area found to carry the same genetic mutation and identified three patients in the early stages of excessive growth who had not realised they were affected.
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