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The Good Kind of Cancer Gene?

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A new study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics suggests some cancer genes may actually be good for the people who carry them, reports New Scientist. The team studied the genomes of more than 12,000 African Americans, Nigerians, and Gambians — and though the genomes were similar, sections of DNA within four genes were quite variable between the populations, New Scientist says. This implies that the four genes evolved differently in response to evolutionary pressures. "In three of the genes, that evolution is known to have improved local resistance to malaria. The fourth gene, unexpectedly, turned out to be PSCA — a gene whose activity is strongly associated with bladder and prostate cancer," New Scientist says. The researchers are assuming that this fourth mutation also confers some benefit, though they aren't sure what that is.

The Scan

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