In the 19 May 05 issue of Nature (Vol. 435, No. 7040, pp. 360-364), scientists identify a gene that causes testicular cancer in mice. A huge increase in testicular cancer incidence from 5% to 94% was described in a mouse strain more than 30 years ago, but it has taken until now for the identity of the gene itself to be discovered.
Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer among males between 15 to 30 years of age, and its incidence is increasing in western countries. The study reveals that the Ter mutation occurs in a gene called deadend which involved in normal testicular development, but, according to Joeseph Nadeau, Angabin Matin and colleagues, Ter mutations can increase testicular tumour incidence dramatically in mice. These results suggest that the Ter mutation may adversely affect essential aspects of primordial germ cell biology, and the authors explain that the work will have important implications for our understanding of the genetic control of testicular germ cell tumours.
Angabin Matin, (University of Texas, Houston, TX, USA)
Joeseph Nadeau (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA)
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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