Field of Science

Mountains of malicious mutations

"Human cancer is caused by the accumulation of mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. To catalog the genetic changes that occur during tumorigenesis, we isolated DNA from 11 breast and 11 colorectal tumors and determined the sequences of the genes in the Reference Sequence database in these samples. Based on analysis of exons representing 20,857 transcripts from 18,191 genes, we conclude that the genomic landscapes of breast and colorectal cancers are composed of a handful of commonly mutated gene "mountains" and a much larger number of gene "hills" that are mutated at low frequency. We describe statistical and bioinformatic tools that may help identify mutations with a role in tumorigenesis. These results have implications for understanding the nature and heterogeneity of human cancers and for using personal genomics for tumor diagnosis and therapy."
The future, ladies and gentlemen (or at least a small part of it). Commentary here.


  1. there was another one in Science a few weeks ago - also a good read. Was highlighted in NRDD this month

    Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 6, 867 (November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nrd2449

  2. thanks for the link, i was especially not aware of the NRD paper


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