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It Takes a Genome: How a Clash Between Our Genes and Modern Life Is Making Us Sick by Greg Gibson

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Brakes, Accelerators, and Mechanics

To see why cancer is a disease of the genes but not generally a hereditary disease, we need to understand how defective genes cause cancer and what makes them defective. Cancer is basically a collection of diseases, since the things that go wrong in brain tumors and breast tumors, and in lymphoma and prostate cancer, are quite different. What these diseases have in common is that the division and migration of cells gets out of control.

Basically three types of events can happen in the earliest stages of turning normal cells into cancerous ones: The brakes can fail, the accelerator pedal can get stuck to the floor, and the mechanics can go out of business. When a combination of these things happens, all sorts ...

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