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The Good Kind of Cancer Gene?


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

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.