Dr. Leonard Zon and colleagues at The Children's Hospital (Boston) have identified a mutated gene in zebrafish that increases susceptibility to epithelial cancers. As featured on the cover of the January 1st issue of G&D, Dr. Zon's research team pinpointed a mitotic checkpoint gene, called separase, as being responsible for the proper segregation of chromosomes during cell division. Mutations in separase resulted in chromosomal instability and increased epithelial tumor load after exposure to carcinogens. Lead author, Dr. Jennifer Shepard, emphasizes that "Our work is the first evidence that separase acts as a tumor suppressor gene and further supports a role for genes that regulate genomic stability in tumor development."
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