Can you imagine never getting sick? How would your life be if you didn’t have to worry about infections or diseases? Your life would change completely. You’d start doing all the things your afraid of. You would stop worrying about what you eat or drink, you'd take bigger risks…
Well, now that you think about it, it might not be such a great idea. Getting sick reminds us to take care and be mindful of our bodies. Still there are illnesses that we cannot control through our lifestyle. We can try to lead a healthy life each day and take all the precaution in the world, and still develop some sort of congenital, environmental, or genetic affliction.
Some diseases can end a person’s life in months, while others limit and debilitate someone over their entire lifespan. Genetics has proven that predisposition to mental or physical ailments is something we carry inside us from birth.
A few months ago, a research paper published in Nature Biotechnology revealed an outstanding discovery that came form a study of almost 600 thousand people. Thirteen of the subjects defied biology by showing they’d overridden their genetic predisposition to particular illnesses through mutation. By all accounts, they should’ve been sick but weren’t.
These lucky thirteen presented immunity to one of the 8 genetic conditions: Pfeiffer syndrome, familial dysautonomia, epidermolysis bullosa simplex, cystic fibrosis, atelosteogenesis, acampomelic campomelic dysplasia, Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, or autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome.
But here’s the bad news: the genetic information was provided in an anonymous manner, making it impossible to follow up on the findings. There is no way of knowing who these results belong to. This could be the reason why researchers won’t be able to pin point the cause for these people to resist illness, nor can they prove any lack of error in the DNA samples.
Yet even with this disheartening truth, the discovery allows for new research to be made to find the cure for incurable diseases. Future studies will not have anonymous genetic samples. Scientists are hoping this could lead to a halt of hereditary conditions in the future. Most of our self-preserving mechanisms come from evolution; however, the reason why some people acquire them and others don’t is still a mystery. Yet this all seems to point to the possibility that our own bodies will try to create better versions of ourselves to keep us from extinction.
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Translated by María Suárez