Biotech Startup Aims to Make Use of Humanity's Genetic Outliers

Read more on this subject: Biology, Botany and Zoology
News Story Source: https://www.msn.com, Ashlee Vance
They're able to lead healthy, active lives with blood oxygen levels far below what most humans need to function properly. Where other people in high altitudes have adapted to boost their oxygen to typical levels over time, the Sherpa have gene variants that let them live in what should be a hypoxic, or oxygen-starved, state. "They don't suffer any ill health effects," says geneticist Stephane Castel. "It's incredible."

Castel is the co-founder of Variant Bio, a startup that's spent the past couple years scouring the planet for genetic outliers. His team is betting that by sequencing such people's DNA, Variant will be able to untangle the root causes of desirable traits—superior metabolism, eyesight, immune response—and synthesize drugs and other therapies that could pass some of these benefits on to the rest of us. If Variant's software and scientific analysis can pinpoint the right bits of genetic code, the company will begin
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