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Biotech Medicine

Famous Breast Cancer Gene Could Affect Brain Growth 31

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the programmer-error dept.
sciencehabit writes "The cancer gene BRCA1, which keeps tumors in the breast and ovaries at bay by producing proteins that repair damaged DNA, may also regulate brain size. Mice carrying a mutated copy of the gene have 10-fold fewer neurons and had other brain abnormalities, a new study (abstract) suggests. Such dramatic effects on brain size and function are unlikely in human carriers of BRCA1 mutations, the authors of the study note, but they propose the findings could shed light on the gene's role in brain evolution."
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Famous Breast Cancer Gene Could Affect Brain Growth

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  • I find it nerdy and interesting the body has in place it's own sentinel to address DNA irregularities.

    FTA: More than half the women with a mutated copy of the BRCA1 gene will develop breast cancer...

    I suspect this is the marker used to inspire Mrs. Pitt to preemptively undergo the double-mastectomy... cue the small brain/breast jokes.

    • by fey000 (1374173)

      I find it nerdy and interesting the body has in place it's own sentinel to address DNA irregularities.

      FTA: More than half the women with a mutated copy of the BRCA1 gene will develop breast cancer...

      I suspect this is the marker used to inspire Mrs. Pitt to preemptively undergo the double-mastectomy... cue the small brain/breast jokes.

      Actually, there are multiple sentinels for this. Unfortunately, they are built in a more hierarchical way than desirable, meaning that once the top tumor suppression mechanism is silenced (through mutations, genetics, epigenetics or what have you), the next level is defenseless (, and DNA repair genes are a part of the tumor defense league). This is also the reason why cancer is so common in the elderly.

      As for the connection to brain size evolution in humans, I would take that with a grain of salt. There ar

    • Ok, you asked for it. But this is definitely what I now know is an autistic version.

      Early in high school, I recognized an inverse relationship between bra cup size and the need for women to perform academically. My theory was that this was a holdover of evolutionary misogyny- that women with more assets had other ways of getting good grades from male teachers and/or extra tutoring help from male students.

      • On the one hand, a girl blessed with those superficial physical characteristics the men of her day find attractive in a mate will be afforded some advantages. While my list will not be jointly exhaustive, this lady who's lucky to be lovely will enjoy preferential mating status, she will be offered employment opportunities beyond her grade, she will get out of an arse load of traffic tickets, and folks will generally be overtly polite to her (yes, even other females who can't stand her).

        The clear on the o

  • Or do I have to read TFA?

  • So a mutated copy caused the results in mice. How about unmutated copies? They did not answer the question did they?
  • Shouldn't it be infamous? After all Infamous means it's more than famous. It's not only famous, it's infamous
    • by swb (14022)

      No, that's not right. Infamous implies being famous for negative reasons.

      Queen Elizabeth is famous, but King Henry VIII is infamous.

  • by moehoward (668736) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:14AM (#46515121)

    I have one of the BRCA1 mutations (there are several known varieties) that causes a greatly heightened risk of some cancers. Not just breast cancer in women, but a very high risk of ovarian cancer as well. For both women and men, the risks of pancreatic, colon, and others are raised. For men, the risk of prostate cancer is greatly increased. The pancreatic and ovarian cancers are especially nasty, but all risk factors here require heightened vigilance for continual screening throughout life.

    I have quite a few family members with the mutation and many without it. There are just as many idiotic, brain defective family members both with it and without. I am not one of them.

    So, that pretty much solves the science on that one. Next?

    • Has knowing that you have this mutation caused you to change your life in any way?
      • by moehoward (668736)

        Yes. Quite a bit. Diet and exercise for one in a major way, but really slowly over time. Screening programs for pancreatic, prostate, colon, and other cancers. Involvement in long-term studies. Chose not to have any more kids after I found out. How I will approach reproduction/adoption discussion with my own kids in case they are carriers. Makes ya think...

  • Someday we will all have giant pulsating heads that can barely contain our brains, pretty much like the Star Trek Talosians..

    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wik... [memory-alpha.org]

    "In the future, women will have breasts all over." - David Byrne

  • I have not read the article.
    I know that an inverse relationship between brain size and breast size has been postulated for decades.

  • Woman with sick tits are stupid, news at 11...

  • I think that as we make more and more links between genes and how they affect the development of our body, we will find out they are crosslinked with other functions. Its like bug ridden code where fixing one bug causes another to pop up.

    Our DNA codebase has been around for quite a long time. Perhaps it is as old as some of the first life to form on Earth. I would hazard a guess that it is ridden with "bugs" and debugging it will become a tricky operation. I also suspect that there are no magic genes that c

  • The human brain has undergone tremendous evolutionary changes in a relatively short period of time. One of the most amazing pieces of nature's engineering was pressured to become even more amazing in just a few million years. It's quite possible there are some downsides from this genetic "rush job".

"You don't go out and kick a mad dog. If you have a mad dog with rabies, you take a gun and shoot him." -- Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, about Muammar Kadhafy

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