NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Burkitt's lymphoma. Diagram of the translocations, the abnormal transfer of sections of DNA between chromosomes, which lead to Burkitt's lymphoma. Burkitt's lymphoma is a cancer of the B lymphocytes, the white blood cells that the immune system uses to make antibodies. The genes for making antibodies are located on chromosomes 2, 14 and 22 (centre, left to right) and are only expressed in B lymphocytes. In cases of Burkitt's lymphoma, the c-myc gene has translocated from its normal position on chromosome 8 to a location close to the antibody genes on 2, 14 or 22. Consequently, c-myc lies in a region of frequent gene expression and, in B lymphocytes, this leads to the overproduction of the protein expressed by the c-myc gene, which turns the cells cancerous.
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