Today represents a brief break from genetic genealogy, in a way, but I thought the topic was interesting enough to talk about.
BRCA2 (Breast Cancer Type 2 susceptibility protein) is a tumor suppressor gene involved in the repair of DNA damage. BRCA2 binds to and regulates another protein (the product of the RAD51 gene) to fix DNA breaks caused by any number of factors. BRCA2 was discovered in 1995 by Professor Michael Stratton and Dr. Richard Wooster in cooperation with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
To date, researchers have identified 450 different mutations in the BRCA2 gene, some of which unfortunately cause an increased risk of cancer. Typically, the mutated gene produces an abnormally short protein that is unable to help the cell fix DNA breaks. Thus, mutations can accumulate and eventually lead to cancer (breast, ovarian, prostate, or pancreatic).
As always, identifying a gene involved in cancer is just the first step in what will someday be prevention of cancer. In honor of the discovery of the BRCA2 gene, the Wellcome Trust helped in the construction of a bicycle path between Addenbrookeâ€™s Hospital in
According to a recent article in Nature (doi:10.1038/447991a), â€œwere the entire human genome laid down at the same scale, the path would circle Earth about ten times.
Many thanks to Brian!
Good information. Thanks!
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