The genes were found by Dr. Vasiliki Theodorou in the research group of Dr. John Hilkens in an exhaustive screen for new oncogenes by using mouse mammary tumor virus-based insertional mutagenesis, an existing technology that obtained a new impuls as a result of the recent completion of the mouse genome sequence. The technology is based on the property of retroviruses to incorporate their DNA in the genome of the host cell as part of their live cycle. The incorporated DNA behaves as a mutagen and affects the activity of adjacent genes or interrupts the coding sequence of a host cell gene. If the affected gene is an oncogene, the integration can lead to tumor development.
Because the genetic code is known the integration site of the viral DNA can be exactly be located. Subsequently, the gene that is affected by the inserted virus can be identified. It is the first time that so many genes were identified in this way.
Theodorou and collegues looked for breast cancer genes in a mouse model. Breast cancer research in mice provide us more insight in development of human breast cancer and aid reseachers in the development of new therapies.
Frederique Melman | alfa
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