MARY-CLAIRE KING (1946- )
Born in a suburb of Chicago, Mary-Claire King developed an interest in solving mysteries and mathematical puzzles at an early age. At the age of fifteen, she lost her best friend to cancer, a traumatic event she links to her later research goal of advancing understanding of cancer. After graduating from Carleton College with a degree in mathematics when she was just nineteen, King began pursuing her Ph.D. in genetics at the University of California, Berkeley, in the molecular evolution laboratory of Allan Wilson. King was soon swept up in the political tumult on campus, and left her studies to take up activist work investigating the effects of pesticides on farm workers. Though she was offered a job with consumer advocate Ralph Nader, King hesitated and consulted Wilson, her former professor. Wilson recognized her great potential as a scientist, and encouraged her to return to the laboratory. King and Wilson went on to revolutionize evolutionary biology with their proof that chimpanzees and humans shared roughly 99% of their genetic material, suggesting that humans and chimps had diverged from a common ancestor more recently than had previously been believed. With her background in genetics and a personal interest in cancer, King then turned her attention to analyzing the pattern of breast cancer in families. Her findings suggested that the disease might be inherited in some cases, and she set herself the ambitious goal of finding the genes responsible for inherited breast cancer. In 1990, King and her colleagues proved the existence of the first gene to be associated with hereditary breast cancer, now known as BRCA1. Certain mutations in the BRCA1 gene are known to greatly increase a carrier�€™s chances of developing breast cancer. Mary-Claire King also maintains her youthful interest in combining science and political activism. She has worked to use DNA evidence to help Argentine families find the �€œlost�€� and displaced children from the country�€™s civil war in the mid-1970s. King is currently the American Cancer Society Research Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Genetics at the University of Washington. She received the Clowes Award for Basic Research from the American Association for Cancer Research, the Brinker Award from the Komen Foundation, and was a Glamour magazine �€œWoman of the Year.�€�
mary claire king
- ID: 16055
- Source: DNALC.DNAi
Allan Wilson in the 1970s, and Mary-Claire King.
Mary-Claire King is currently a professor and activist at the University of Washington in Seattle.
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.
Geneticist Mary-Claire King talks about her discovery that chimps and humans are extremely similar at a molecular level.
Geneticist Mary-Claire King talks about the similarities and differences between chimps and humans.
Mary-Claire King talks about testing for 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 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 recalls her reaction when she heard that the Skolnick team had successfully cloned BRCA1 and made it to the finish line first.
Mary-Claire King reflects on how knowledge gained from the identification of BRCA1 and BRCA2 could lead to improved cancer treatments.