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Bacterial DNA may integrate into human genome more readily in tumor tissue
Date:6/20/2013

orting bacterial integration. The data presented a compelling case that LGT occurs in the human somatic genome and that it could have an important role in cancer and other human diseases associated with mutations. It is possible that LGT mutations play a role in carcinogenesis, yet it is also possible that they could simply be passenger mutations.

The investigators suggest several competing ideas to explain the results, though more research is needed for definitive answers. One possibility is that the mutations are part of carcinogenesis, the process by which normal cells turn into cancer cells. Alternatively, tumor cells are so very rapidly proliferating that they may be more permissive to lateral gene transfer. It is also possible that the bacteria are causing these mutations because they benefit the bacteria.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health's Director's New Innovator Award Program (1-DP2-OD007372) and the NSF Microbial Sequencing Program (EF-0826732).

"This is the type of basic science research, conducted using the analysis of much publicly available genomic data, that makes us leaders in the cutting edge field of genomic science and personalized medicine," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "It is just this type of research that will lead us to a new world of personalized medicine, in which doctors can use each patient's genomic make-up to determine care and preventive measures. We are excited to be a part of this future with the outstanding work of our Institute for Genome Sciences."


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Contact: Karen Robinson
karobinson@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-7590
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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