Mutations Found in "Junk" DNA May be Driving Skin Cancers, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Study

Human DNA that researchers once thought served no purpose may play a crucial role in deadly skin cancers, harboring some of the mutations that first appear in tumors and promote the malignancy’s growth. Using gene sequencing technology, scientists at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston found two mutations among 71 percent of melanoma tumors analyzed. The discovery, the first to identify gene mutations in the vast region of DNA that only last year was shown to have a role turning genes on and off, was published yesterday in two studies in the online journal Science Express.

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