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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Scientists crack entire genome of skin and lung cancer

Researchers working around the globe as part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium have announced that the entire genetic code for skin and lung cancer has been "decrypted".

The scientists have discovered more than 30,000 transcription errors in genetic replication that give rise to melanoma (and almost all of these are triggered from too much sunlight).

And if you're a smoker, think about this the next time you light up: you typically acquire one fresh new mutation for every 15 cigarettes that you smoke. Not all of these are malign, but there are more than 23,000 genetic errors and some of them will lead to lung cancer.

That's about, what... 1.25 mutations per pack of cigarettes, on the conservative side of the figures?

Yul Brynner was smoking five packs a day. This is what he had to say about it, in a 1985 television spot intentionally airing after he died...

The International Cancer Genome Consortium researchers are hailing their findings as a tremendous breakthrough in the fight against cancer. That it certainly is.

But folks, let's not pin too much hope on research. Take care of yourself so that you don't have to likely appreciate the fruits of future medicine.