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January 8, 1982

Oncogenes: A Unitary Cause of Cancer?

JAMA. 1982;247(2):178-181. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320270018015

The Sarc Gene 

JAMA:  What is the sarc gene?

Erikson:  The sarc gene of the Rous sarcoma virus is the gene that can induce fibrosarcomas in susceptible animals and cause malignant transformation of fibroblasts in culture. It was first defined genetically in the early 1970s by several different investigators. The first mutant viruses involving the sarc gene were conditional mutants, which means that sarc gene activity was dependent on the conditions in which the infected cells were grown. These mutants were temperature sensitive because they could cause malignant transformation of cells at 35 °C, but would not transform cells at 41 °C. The discovery of these temperature-sensitive mutants indicated that the virus was carrying a gene responsible for transformation. Within a few years, deletion mutants (in which the sarc gene was not present in the virus) were isolated, and by 1972 the idea that Rous sarcoma virus was carrying a