What to look for in the hunt for BRCA1, Mary-Claire King
Interviewee: Mary-Claire King.
Mary-Claire King talks about her first steps toward finding the gene responsible for certain kinds of inherited breast cancer.
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It's not that we knew exactly where to look we didn't have any idea what genes were responsible. But we should be able to use markers on chromosomes, we should be able to use bits of protein or bits of DNA to flag chromosomal segments. And if we could in a family - in a family with - in which many women had developed breast cancer and some indeed ovarian cancer. If we could show that there were some chromosomal bits that were inherited in common by the women who developed the breast cancer but those same particular ancestral bits were not inherited by the women who had remained breast cancer-free until old age, then we might have a clue that those were the chromosomal regions in which, in principal, there might lie a gene that was responsible for inherited predisposition to breast cancer in this family.
By 1990, King had found a "landmark" that helped her fix the gene's position on a chromosome. This DNA marker was on chromosome 17, and was linked to breast cancer in a subset of the families she studied. She teamed up with Francis Collins in a race to f