The hunt for BRCA1, Mark Skolnick

Interviewee: Mark Skolnick. The hunt for BRCA1.

So during the 1980s we had considerable success mapping genes, but my group was not a group of molecular biologists, it was a group of population geneticists who had learned the tools beyond statistical analysis of analyzing genetic markers in families. But once we mapped, got close to a gene, the real fruit, that is isolating and discovering the underlying gene, fell to the hands of other people. So, for example, when we found the linkage of neurofibromatosis to chromosome 17, it was two other labs that then successively went after the isolation of that gene. And it was a bit of a disappointment to be left out of really the final prize of discovering what was the gene that caused the disease that we'd been working on now for ten years. Because of this lesson, and when Mary-Claire King found the locus, localization, which incidentally was also on chromosome 17, just like neurofibromatosis, of the first breast cancer and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA1, I didn't want to be left behind.

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