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Archived Comments for: Comparative analysis of cancer genes in the human and chimpanzee genomes

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  1. Lifestyle factors or small differences in genotypes: which is more important for development of cancer?

    SUJOY MAITRA, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne

    9 February 2006

    Xose S Puente et al have discovered small differences in the important cancer related genes between man and chimps. Congratulations for that indeed. But actually which one is more important: the gene itself or the way we allow it to get damaged by means of innumerable environmental and lifestyle risk factors? Had the chimps smoked or drank alcohol or indulged in consuming carcinogens viz artificial food colourents or preservatives we could have blamed only our genes for giving us more cancer than chimps. It is certainly not possible to go back in time and find out the cancer prevalence in our predecessors a million years ago when there was hardly any difference between man and chimp in terms of lifestyle. But possibly we can design a longitudinal study where a cohort of chimps are exposed to the same risk factors as man today and observe cancer incidence in several generations of their offsprings.

    Competing interests

    None

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