Genetic Superheroes May Hold The Key To Fighting Disease

Genome study reveals ‘genetic superheroes’ who somehow escaped deadly diseases encoded in their DNA.

should be disease-causing mutations, we get a more complete picture of the disease and we may even learn what makes some people resistant.”

“If you’re going to try to look at what protects people from getting disease, it is not necessarily the right thing to look at those who have disease,” says genomics researcher Stephen Friend, leader of the Resilience Project. “The right thing to do would be to look at those who have not gotten sick.”

Genetics
Stephen Friend. (Credit: Source.)

Are You a Genetic Superhero?

Just who are these evolutionary wonders? Scientists would like to know, too.

Most of the genomes studied by the Resilience Project came from people identified by DNA alone; no names or contact information was provided.

You can imagine the level of frustration,” says Dr. Friend. “It is almost as if you got to take the wrapping off the box but you couldn’t open the box.”

The bulk of the study’s genetic data came from people who provided their DNA to the consumer genetics company 23andMe. 23andMe offers detailed DNA analysis to consumers seeking information about their genetic makeup and history. When participants submitted their saliva for DNA sequencing, the company asked if it could also use their DNA for anonymous research. It did not ask if the participants’ personal and contact information could be shared.

“The last ‘generation’ of consents and corresponding sample collection for these kinds of

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