The Role of Genes in Development of Cancer

The body of a human being is made up of various cells. Each cell contains DNA; which in turn contains various genes. A cell can have up to 30,000 different genes. These genes are responsible for controlling how cell functions, its growth, how long it lives, and how often it divides.

In order to control the functioning of the cells, genes make proteins. These proteins have specific functions. They also act as messengers for the cell. For the protein to perform the correct function, the gene must have the correct instruction for making the protein itself.

The genesis of cancer is where one or more genes are changed. The changing of the gene structure is known as mutations. Mutation leads to either the creation of an abnormal protein or failure to create any at all. This causes uncontrollable multiplication of cells which become cancerous.

Mutations are common in the human body, but the body is in a position of correcting them. For cancer to occur there must have been quite a number of mutations in the body during the individual’s lifetime. This explains why cancer mostly affects older people.

There are various genes that may be directly associated with the cause of cancer. Among them are:

Tumor suppressor genes; they limit the growth of cells by monitoring how quickly a cell divides. If they are mutated, the cells will end up growing uncontrollably hence becoming cancerous.

DNA repair genes; they are responsible for correcting mistakes made when DNA is copied. If it is mutated, these mistakes cannot be fixed hence leading to the formation of cancerous cells.



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