"The genome includes genes -- sequences of DNA that encode the proteins that keep our body working -- and regulatory regions adjacent to genes, which are sequences of DNA that regulate gene expression," said corresponding author Dr. Chad Creighton, associate professor of medicine and member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center division of biostatistics at Baylor College of Medicine. "In the old days, scientists thought about the regulatory regions as representing 'junk' DNA because they do not make proteins, but in fact they play a critical role. There is an intricate network of regulatory molecules that affect which genes are expressed."
Cancer may develop because of mutations that happen within a protein-coding gene and, as a result, knock out or modify that protein's function. Cancer also may happen because of structural rearrangements, which are pieces of DNA that jump from one part of the genome to another causing rearrangement of many genes.
Rearrangements - Genes - Protein - Function - Creighton
"We found that structural rearrangements can occur within protein-coding genes and alter the protein's function," Creighton said. "Rearrangements also can occur within the regulatory regions, and although they do not affect the protein-coding genes themselves, they can dramatically alter their expression. For instance, structural rearrangements can turn off tumor suppressor genes, such as p53 and PTEN, or turn on oncogenes such as TERT,...
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