Some people are resistant to genetic disease | Science News

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Some people are resistant to genetic disease

Among half a million people, lucky 13 found with mutations but no symptoms

By
5:32pm, April 11, 2016
genetic superhero

HIDDEN IDENTITY  Some rare people have the power to overcome genetic diseases even though they carry mutations that should make them sick. Researchers discovered 13 such people after examining DNA and medical information from more than 500,000. The genetic “superheroes” don’t know they’re special; researchers don’t have permission to contact the lucky 13 and tell them about their powers.

Some people can evade diseases even though they carry genetic mutations that cause serious problems for others.

Researchers found 13 of these genetic escape artists after examining DNA from nearly 600,000 people, the scientists report online April 11 in Nature Biotechnology. Learning how such people dodge genetic bullets may help move inherited-disease research from diagnosis to prevention.

Hundreds of mutations that lead to genetic diseases have been uncovered since the discovery of a disease-causing flaw in the “cystic fibrosis gene” in 1989. But, says study coauthor Stephen Friend, “finding the gene that causes the disease is not the same as finding a way to prevent the symptoms or manifestations of that disease.”

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