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Scientists find that cancer can arise from changes in the proteins that package DNA

A mutation that affects the proteins that package DNA–without changing the DNA itself–can cause a rare form of cancer, according to new findings in this week’s Science from researchers at The Rockefeller University.

stuck dividing
In some cancers, including chondroblastoma and a rare form of childhood sarcoma, a mutation in histone H3 reduces global levels of methylation (dark areas) in tumor cells but not in normal cells (arrowhead). Rockefeller scientists found that the mutation arrests the cells in a proliferative state to promote tumor development.
Credit:Laboratory of Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics at The Rockefeller University