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November 19, 1982

Migrant oncogene-Burkitt's lymphoma link

JAMA. 1982;248(19):2424-2426. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330190010003

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Two teams of investigators have provided the first evidence that the translocation of a single piece of DNA from one chromosome to another involves and perhaps "turns on" an oncogene in human cells. This evidence was presented at a recent Bristol-Myers symposium, "Chromosomes and Cancer: From Molecules to Man," at the University of Chicago.

The laboratories of Carlo M. Croce, PhD, associate director of the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, and Philip Leder, MD, chair, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, pursued different avenues of research to arrive at the same conclusion: The translocation between the terminal ends of chromosomes 8 and 14 in Burkitt's lymphoma cells involves an exchange of two genes (among others)— one that codes for a region of the antibody molecule and one that is an oncogene called the myc gene (the human homologue of the avian myelocytomatosis virus). The translocation, which occurs in 90% of