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NCI Cancer Center News

USC researchers show increase of cell mutations with age

  • Posted: March 15, 2013

Research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC (home of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center) showed evidence that cell mutations increase with age, causing supposedly identical cells to diverge genetically. The report is featured as the cover article in the April issue of the journal Aging Cell. The lining of the colon is made up of crypts, sections composed of about 2,000 cell clones. The researchers were able to analyze and compare the genome of crypts from different areas of the same person’s colon. In the colon, genetic mutations are implicated in cancer, and the mutations increase in cases of severe inflammatory bowel disease. Cell divergence in other parts of the body may play a role in other diseases as well.

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