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Paddy Doherty leaned back in the narrow hospital bed and watched a bag of clear liquid drain into a vein in his left arm, whisking billions of invisible strands of mRNA into the torrent of his bloodstream.

It was only in February he’d learned the pinching pains in his toes and gasping for breath that had begun to haunt his daily dog walks through the hills of Donegal County were caused by a deformed protein piling up in his nerves and heart. Now here he was, a few months later, at a clinic in central London, so that doctors could try to fix the genetic defect he’d inherited — the same one that had already killed his father, an uncle, and a cousin.

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