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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Mary-Claire King speaks about how much was yet to be understood about the genetic mechanisms of cancer when she began her hunt for genes associated with breast cancer.
Mary-Claire King talks about her first steps toward finding the gene responsible for certain kinds of inherited breast cancer.
Mary-Claire King talks about the tedious process of hunting for genes in the days before genetic maps (based on thousands of markers) were readily available.
Mary-Claire King talks about testing for breast cancer.
Mary-Claire King talks about the value of using the centuries-old tool of family pedigrees to gain insight into patterns of inheritance of genetic disorders.
Mary-Claire King reflects on how knowledge gained from the identification of BRCA1 and BRCA2 could lead to improved cancer treatments.
MARY-CLAIRE KING (1946- )
Mary-Claire King talks about the search for a bit of DNA that would shed light on why some members of a family developed cancer while others did not.
Matt Ridley talks about chromosome 13, BRCA2 gene for breast cancer susceptibility.
Mary-Claire King is currently a professor and activist at the University of Washington in Seattle.