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BIG STEPS IN GENOME SEQUENCING

The much-vaunted medical benefits of sequencing the human genome have recently received some vindication in clinical trials of the anti-cancer drug PLX4032. The dramatic potential of the drug for shrinking skin-cancer tumours was reported in August, and is confirmed by a recent paper in Nature.

But the real excitement stems from the approach: the drug was developed to target a specific carcinogenic mutation of a gene called BRAF, involved in cell growth. The problem is that there are several dangerous mutations of BRAF alone, and thousands of other genetic mutations that also cause cancer.…

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