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Fri, Mar 28

How Being Ignored Helped A Woman Discover The Breast Cancer Gene

Back in the 1970s, a geneticist named Mary-Claire King decided she needed to figure out why women in some families were much more likely to get breast cancer. It took 17 years for King and her colleague to identify the single gene that could cause both breast and ovarian cancer. During that time, many people discounted her work, saying that genes couldn’t cause complex diseases like cancer. She proved them wrong, first by mapping the gene’s location, and then in 1994, by announcing that her laboratory had successfully cloned the BRCA1 gene. (King describes her experience in Thursday’s issue of the journalScience.) Read more.