Saturday, 11 August 2007

Breaking chromosomes can lead to cancer, Tufts study says

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In a study recently published in Molecular Cell, two molecular biologists at Tufts have used yeast artificial chromosomes to show that there is a highly flexible DNA sequence that increases fragility and stalls replication, causing the chromosome to break. The site that is prone to breaking lies in the middle of a tumor suppressor gene and breakage is highly associated with cancer.

According to Catherine Freudenreich, lead author on the study, "If you delete that gene or delete part of that gene so it doesn't work anymore, that can lead to tumors. The fact that there is fragility in the same region that this gene is located is a bad coincidence."

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