CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Breast cancer gene. Coloured immunofluorescent light micrograph of BRCA-1 (red), a gene that has been linked to the development of breast cancer. The gene is on the chromosome at right. Women normally have two copies of BRCA-1, one on each of their chromosome 17 pair, which is believed to aid in cancer suppression. However if one of these genes is defective, or missing (as here), there is no back-up if the second gene is damaged by exposure to environmental carcinogens (cancer- causing chemicals). Therefore inheriting only one BRCA-1 gene results in a small increased risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.
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