Superpower of Immunity


“I could be superman”
3rd Eye Photographer CC BY 2.0

Superpowers have always been a part one’s childhood, whether it was from watching movies to reading comics or even just dreaming. We’ve also all had that point in our lives where we accepted that superpowers are only a fantasy and nothing more, but is it really just a fantasy? Science says no.

Genes

Our abilities, whether or not they are superpowers, come from our genes. If we break any organism down, everything is really just a combination of genes. Genes are the foundation of who we are and what makes us up, even determining our physical appearances. In other words, changing our genes, changes us, our abilities, and our appearances. How does this relate to superpowers? You can probably already have a sense of where I’m going with this. Changing the gene can change our abilities even enhance them, resulting in something some of us may consider as superpowers.

Arsenic Immunity

San Antonia de Les Cobres is the name of a remote village in the Puna region of Argentina. Here, locals are immune to the same chemical that harms millions of people every year, arsenic poison. For thousands of years, these locals drank arsenic-contaminated water, without showing any signs of illness. Usually, arsenic poisoning leads to cancer, liver disease, and even death. So why isn’t that the case for these locals? Arsenic immunity resulted from a genetic change that took place 7000 to 10 000 years ago, according to Dr. Karin Broberg, a researcher in environmental medicine. The gene AS3MT in particular is thought to be a significant cause, specifically in arsenic metabolism. With only a change in the genes, these particular people are immune to a poison that is toxic even in low quantities to the majority of people in the world. It’s interesting, what genes can do. If this is the case for natural genetic changes, imagine the power of artificial genetic changes, where we can decide the enhancements of our abilities.

Evidently, genes can enhance a human’s abilities, even giving an ability to resist poison. Do superpowers still sound like a fantasy? Probably not as much. Artificial gene-editing has yet to be used at a level where humans can have superpowers but until then, we can watch a rather interesting process in which superpowers may become a true definite reality.

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