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Scientists Crack Skin and Lung Cancers’ Genetic Codes

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Posted on Dec 16, 2009
Wikimedia Commons / Webridge

A colorful image of the human genome.

Scientists are now able to map the complete genetic codes of lung and skin cancer, and now an international effort is in motion to do the same for more varieties, including breast, stomach, liver, brain, mouth and pancreatic cancer.  —KA


The scientists found the DNA code for a skin cancer called melanoma contained more than 30,000 errors almost entirely caused by too much sun exposure.

The lung cancer DNA code had more than 23,000 errors largely triggered by cigarette smoke exposure.

From this, the experts estimate a typical smoker acquires one new mutation for every 15 cigarettes they smoke.

Although many of these mutations will be harmless, some will trigger cancer.

Wellcome Trust researcher Dr Peter Campbell, who conducted this research, published in the journal Nature, said: “It’s like playing Russian roulette.

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By jacky, November 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes,we are evolving and new research are taking us to a
new dimension

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By coloradokarl, December 17, 2009 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

Wait, If I smoke you will flog me?  mmmm…yummy….

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By Kok Siong Chen, December 17, 2009 at 6:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a valuable finding in cancer research. However, i prefer to advice people stop from smoking. Thanks for sharing!

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CJ's avatar

By CJ, December 17, 2009 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

How soon immortality is what I need to know. Not that it’s been all that interesting thus far. Let’s see…

“By quitting smoking, people could reduce their cancer risk back down to ‘normal’ with time, he said. (?)

The suspicion is lung cells containing mutations are eventually replaced with new ones free of genetic errors. (This is “suspicious”? Compared to what, Les? Goddamnit!)

By studying the cancer catalogues in detail, the scientists say it should be possible to find exactly which lifestyle and environmental factors trigger different tumours. “ (Say it ain’t so.)

So what’s “normal”? “Exactly”? I gather there’s some Platonic ideal of a perfect gene? Some perfect specimen someplace with which to compare one’s own gene?

Why does all this sound Orwellian? Oh, “[I]t should be possible to find exactly which lifestyle and environmental factors trigger different tumours.” Right. Very right.

So any lifestyle that isn’t quite to prescription would be…taxed? More? Or maybe just more harshly punished? How about total ostracism (even more than now, if possible)? Shunning? Flogging? Hospitals might charge by the error. Which, presumably, will at some point be able to be traced “exactly” to personal behavior vs. environmental factor. Will the state subsidize treatment for increases in errors known to be the result of environmental factors? While any would be held personally liable for errors resulting from incorrect lifestyle?

Genetics, if not all science, is turning out not-too-subtle excuse for fascism. Science, not unlike religion, is far more often than not driven by preconceived notions of truth per necessary ideology. Science claims that real science is apart from ideology, completely unbiased. Right. Well, I’m all for discovery, if not for political uses to which discoveries are put. Oh, here we go. Again.

But then I’ve long thought—out of resentment surrounding taxation of smokes—that sun tanners should be taxed for every minute spent on beach or in parlor, or just hiking. Especially you nudists out there. And fat people for every pound overweight. (The state might conduct weigh-ins.) Any nudist who’s fat and who smokes will find himself in some serious tax difficulty. Which I say as someone who’s had skin cancer and who hasn’t ever since spent any time in the sun. And as one who’s never been fat. NIMBY But I’m still smokin’. Doing math…years smoking…thousands and thousands of days…times butts per day…at one error per 15 butts…DAMN baby! FOUR HUNDRED-THOUSAND ERRORS! In each lungy-gene thing? Whoops. Seventeen point four times the number that “causes” lung cancer, if 23,000 is the number of allotted errors? I’m ready to be targeted. (I love the lingo.)

So, did the scientists just like sit there watching genes error while someone smoked 15 cigarettes? No, they arrived at the number the same way I just did, but in reverse. Then concluded: “By quitting smoking, blah, blah…lifestyles, blah, blah…environmental factors, blah, blah… More blah, blah and blah.”

“Science” not even to Hume’s billiard-balls standard of cause and effect, though no doubt worthy enough of a guv grant. And politically useful enough. Ever notice how the nanny state seems more like the wrist-slapping-nun state? Meanwhile, so-called “healthcare insurance reform” has been sandbagged. So much for any nanny, which the wacky right so resents because they never detached from wet nurses. Thus, the macho shtick.

All right, I’m ready to be blasted with radiation, a variety of corrosive chemicals, whatnot stuff claimed to do a body good, long as not smoky nor sunny. And for accusations concerning my personal irresponsibility in not living preferred lifestyle, also claimed by “science” to do a mind good. Right? Absolutism right! You commie bastard!

One-half more error just since starting to write here. And now for some red meat.

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