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Disease Markers
Volume 13, Issue 4, Pages 261-274
Review Article

Brcal: A Review of Structure and Putative Functions

James W.E. Paterson

School of Biomedical Sciences, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Received 16 January 1998

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BRCA1 is a complex gene implicated in familial breast and ovarian cancer. Although it is almost certainly a tumour suppressor, it is also essential for the normal growth and development of embryonic cells. BRCA1 is probably involved in DNA damage and repair, in cell cycle regulation, and in differentiation of celis. It remains to be established whether all these functions are subserved by single mechanism or pathway. Since the cloning of BRCA1 in 1994, much has been learned about the function of the gene. However, a great deal more still has to be uncovered. The size of the protein coded by the BRCA1 gene and the variety of transcripts argues for a complexity of function and regulation that will provide intellectual and technical challenges for years to come.