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First complete cancer genome sequenced

Scientists decipher each of the 3 billion DNA bases from the genome of an acute myeloid leukemia tumor

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11:58am, November 5, 2008

For the first time, a complete cancer genome, and incidentally a complete female genome, has been decoded, scientists report online Nov. 5 in Nature. In a study made possible by faster, cheaper and more sensitive methods for sequencing DNA, the researchers pinpoint eight new genes that may cause a cell to turn cancerous.

“Since cancer is a disease of the genome, this newfound ability to determine the complete DNA sequence of a cancer cell is enormously powerful,” comments Francis Collins, a geneticist and former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda

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