Catching a Rogue Gene

Two groups independently isolate the hereditary defect responsible for some forms of colon cancer

Anyone who doubts that the pace of the genetic revolution has accelerated mightily need only consider last week's news about colon cancer. It was just last May that a team of researchers led by Dr. Bert Vogelstein at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore announced conclusive evidence that a genetic defect causes a hereditary form of colon cancer, accounting for as many as 22,000 cases in the U.S. every year. The next step was to pinpoint the malfunctioning gene, which lurked somewhere on chromosome 2. Back in the 1980s, that search might have taken three years or more. Instead, it took six...

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