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Readers ponder the randomness of DNA errors

Your comments on the April 15, 2017, issue of Science News

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10:49am, May 17, 2017

At random

As cells divide and grow, mutations may crop up in cancer-associated genes. A recent study found that more cancer mutations are caused by these random mistakes than other factors, such as environment or inheritance, Tina Hesman Saey reported in “DNA errors play big role in cancer” (SN: 4/15/17, p. 6).

John Day wondered if replication errors are truly random, not just unpredictable. And he questioned whether all cancers not known to be caused by inherited genes or the environment must be caused by replication errors. “Isn’t it plausible that many or most of the cancers attributed to replication errors in this study involve genetic

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