June 28, 2019 – Random DNA


Anchor lead: DNA all over your body is quite variable and may have many mutations, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Many new tests poised to become clinically useful rely on analyzing DNA and finding changes known as mutations or other features to identify cancer as well as a host of other diseases early. Now accumulating research has shown that when it comes to variability, your DNA is all over the map, all the time. Cristian Tomasetti, a cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Tomasetti: We’re a total mess when it comes down to mutations. This mess is the new normal situation. Our tissues are accumulating mutations from development on, then, what is normal? There is no way to define normal because we are all mosaics. Very complicated ones, and very different from each other, even within the same person, the same organ. What is it we still consider normal, and when do we start getting worried that that is not so normal anymore?  :32

Tomasetti suggests testing at many times points in an indvidual’s lifetime may help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.