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Massachusetts General Hospital

Lab test may identify dangerous gene mutations, study finds

Scientists say they've found a new way to help determine whether specific genetic abnormalities are likely to make people sick, a step toward avoiding a vexing uncertainty that can surround DNA test results.

Researchers used genetic engineering to create thousands of tiny variations in a gene linked to breast cancer, and tested each one in a lab to predict whether it would promote the disease if it appeared in a person.

When those predictions were checked against what scientists already knew about the BRCA1 gene, "we were very accurate," said Lea Starita of the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine in Seattle.

The technique, which she and her...

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