Human Genome

Nature 409, 850-852 (15 February 2001) | doi:10.1038/35057046

Cancer and genomics

P. Andrew Futreal1, Arek Kasprzyk2, Ewan Birney2, James C. Mullikin3, Richard Wooster1,4 & Michael R. Stratton1,4


Identification of the genes that cause oncogenesis is a central aim of cancer research. We searched the proteins predicted from the draft human genome sequence for paralogues of known tumour suppressor genes, but no novel genes were identified. We then assessed whether it was possible to search directly for oncogenic sequence changes in cancer cells by comparing cancer genome sequences against the draft genome. Apparently chimaeric transcripts (from oncogenic fusion genes generated by chromosomal translocations, the ends of which mapped to different genomic locations) were detected to the same degree in both normal and neoplastic tissues, indicating a significant level of false positives. Our experiment underscores the limited amount and variable quality of DNA sequence from cancer cells that is currently available.

  1. Cancer Genome Project and
  2. Informatics Division, Sanger Centre, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK
  3. EBI-EMBL, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Cambridge CB10 1SD, UK
  4. Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5NG, UK

Correspondence to: Michael R. Stratton1,4 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to M.R.S. (e-mail: Email: