8 Genetic Mutations That Can Give You 'Superpowers'

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The malaria-protecting variant.

People who are carriers for sickle-cell disease — meaning that they have one sickle gene and one normal hemoglobin gene — are more protected against malaria than those who are not. Though blood disorders are not necessarily "super," this information may influence more innovative malaria treatments down the road.

Thomson Reuters

CETP and the low-cholesterol mutation.

Flickr/Elvert Barnes

Although environment — including what we eat — can influence cholesterol levels, genetics play a big role, too.

Mutations in a gene responsible for producing a protein called cholesteryl ester transfer protein(CETP) result in a deficiency of that protein. CETP deficiency is linked with having higher levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, which helps carry cholesterol to the liver so it can be removed from the body, resulting in lower cholesterol levels.

Studies have also found a lower prevalence of coronary heart disease in people with the deficiency-causing mutation.

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