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  • Sidharth Raghavan

'If I were a Gene'

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

If I were a gene, I would be the p53 tumor suppressor gene, which acts like a brake for cell division and detects cells that can become cancerous. More specifically, I would like to be a p53 gene with a self-repairing mutation – one that can prevent cancer from forming in the first place. The p53 gene recognizes damaged DNA before the cell replicates and can either fix it or eliminate the cell. Hence it is called the ‘guardian of the genome’. Everyone has two copies of this gene, one from each parent. But the p53 gene is also the most frequently mutated gene in cancer – cancers grow by deactivating p53. When both copies of p53 are deactivated, the cell has no brakes and can multiply at an uncontrolled rate. Imagine if there were a way to make the p53 gene resilient to mutation… perhaps cancer can be eradicated!

(Image Credit: Drug Target Review)

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