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The Good Mutations

Protective mutations have so far been found by chance, but researchers are now starting to actively look for them, the New York Times reports.

With the mounds of sequencing data that have recently been collected, researchers like Eric Schadt at Mount Sinai and Sage Bionetworks' Stephen Friend have been looking for people who carry genetic mutations for diseases that appear early in life, but who are healthy.

That's how they stumbled on to Doug Whitney. His mom, nine of her 13 siblings, his older brother, and six cousins have died of early onset Alzheimer's disease. And other family members currently have the condition.

But Whitney, who tells the Times he's been bracing for the onset of the disease for years, has an intact memory at the age of 65. He'd assumed he'd managed to avoid the mutation that runs in his family, but a genetic test he took a few years ago found that he did actually have it.

Another mutation, researchers suspect, might be protecting him. And that's what they are now searching for.

"Instead of trying to fix things that are broken let's look at people where things are broken but nature finds way around it," Schadt tells the Times.

The Scan

mRNA-Based Vaccine on the Way in China

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Arranged Killing, Fraud Alleged by Prosecutors

The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors allege that the co-founder of a biotech arranged to have a business associate who threatened to expose him as a fraud killed.

Whirlwind Decade of CRISPR

The New York Times looks back at the 10 years since the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues published their CRISPR paper.

PNAS Papers on Blue Cone Monochromacy Structural Variants, HIV-1 Mutant, T-ALL

In PNAS this week: structural variants linked to blue cone monochromacy, HIV-1 variants affecting the matrix protein p17, and more.