COMPANY LOOKING FOR GENETIC OUTLIERS
June 5, 2020
Today’s blog is about an article that vaulted right to the “finals” folder, no ifs, ands, or buts. It was spotted by M.G., and when I saw the subject matter, I knew I had to talk about it. (A big thank you to M.G.!)
The subject? A new start-up company whose whole specialty is to look for “genetic outliers” in the human population:
Now, as usual, the “line” here is that looking for such outlier populations could be of immense potential health benefit:
he Sherpa people living at high altitudes in Nepal and the Himalayas have a genetic trait that puzzles and fascinates scientists. 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 the painstaking, multiyear process of trying to develop drugs and therapies based on that data.
The science behind therapies inspired by genetic studies is well understood. You find the DNA that turns on a particular trait, then create a drug around it that goes into the patient’s cells and tweaks them to trigger a similar reaction. Some mainstream cholesterol-lowering drugs, for example, are based on studies of DNA from people of African descent with atypically low LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. In the case of something like Covid-19, which attacks the respiratory system and can inflict serious damage on a patient’s lungs, Variant’s scientists say genetic alterations such as those of the Sherpas ought to prove helpful. “You can end up dying from hypoxia with Covid-19,” Castel says. “Perhaps there’s a way to keep people healthy while they’re still in that condition.”
Isolated academic researchers have spent years studying people who’ve adapted to their environments in remarkable ways, but Variant appears to have undertaken the first serious effort to sequence the DNA of many thousands of people around the world with actionable lessons in mind. In New Zealand the company is looking for people of Polynesian descent who have high rates of obesity but also seem to have some protections against diabetes. In other places, Variant has discovered people who metabolize their high-fat diets more effectively than others.
You get the idea, and from this point of view, the search for such outliers and “what makes them tick genetically” makes a lot of sense.
But regular readers of this website will probably know what my high-octane speculation and suspicion is here. Suppose, for a moment, that you were part of a super-secret governmental body assigned the task of dealing with the UFO problem. As you gather and collect data, you inevitably run across all those stories of abductees, of “ET” experimenting on humans, implanting (or stealing), foetuses. You then become familiar with the research of Dr. Jacques Vallee, which points out the similarity of those stories with mediaeval stories of incubuses and succubuses. Expanding your research further, you run across esoteric and alchemical lore about creating “gollums” and “mechanical thinking ‘men'”. This leads you to some ancient Biblical and Mesopotamian texts about “the gods” mingling with humans. Your assignment to protect the national security is counter-intelligence, and as such, you have to consider that the idea of planting “moles” inside of your government and its agencies must be expanded to consider the possibility that it may not just be foreign governments engaged in such activity. It may also include “someone else” doing the same, but with people that look like us, and in most other respects, act and behave like us.
Except, they’re not us. They’re “something else.”
How would one go about finding them? Well, one way I’ve suggested is to look for behavioral outliers in populations, and the other is, of course, genetics. One could not, of course, announce a program to the public along the lines of “we’re testing and gathering genetic database information because were looking for someone that may look human, but differs somewhat genetically from homo sapiens sapiens.” To do that would then require an explanation of why you’re looking for such people, and that would involve disclosing more areas of secret inquiry and policy and strategy that you’re not prepared to disclose.
No. You’d set up fronts to do that: medical foundations, private corporations even, whose stated purpose is to look for “genetic outliers” in the human population, and you’d cover it all with the explanation that it could be beneficial to the health of the general population if you could, for example, identify any genetic markers that allows a small group of humans to live in oxygen poor environments. Why, if you could do so, it might even be a means of fighting the dreaded Fauci-Lieber-Wuhan-Baal Gates virus. And if mirabile dictu along the way, you actually do end up finding some new miracle cure, then so much the better.
Am I speculating wildly here?
Yes, of course I am.
But consider: the step from looking for outliers in the human population that can breathe and function at high altitudes, or that can be obese without suffering diabetes, to looking for other types of genetic outliers, such as a resemblance to homo sapiens sapiens but a slightly different genetic makeup, is a very small one, for the very same technology would be involved in both. One could easily do the one, under the cover of the other. And one could, as the article also suggests, make use of those massive public and private genetic databases of companies like Ancestry.com.
See you on the flip side.