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MIT Technology Review: Search for New Medical Treatments Zeroes In on Genetic Superheroes

April 11, 2016

MIT Technology Review: Search for New Medical Treatments Zeroes In on Genetic Superheroes

by Antonio Regalado April 11, 2016

The hunt is on for people who are healthy—even though their genes say they shouldn’t be.

A massive search through genetic databases has found evidence for more than a dozen “genetic superheroes,” people whose genomes contain serious DNA errors that cause devastating childhood illnesses but who say they aren’t sick.
The new study is part of a trend toward studying the DNA of unusually healthy people to determine if there’s something about them that can be discovered and bottled up as a treatment for everyone else.

There’s already evidence from large families afflicted by genetic disease that some members are affected differently—or not at all. The current study took a different approach, scouring DNA data collected on 589,306 mostly unrelated individuals, and is the “the largest genome study to date,” according to Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in New York.

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