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Approved research

Determinants of somatic mutation variability in the UK Biobank population

Principal Investigator: Dr Gilad Evrony
Approved Research ID: 50529
Approval date: June 18th 2019

Lay summary

In every population there are families in which many members of the family have cancer. These families usually are found to have mutations in genes that correct or prevent errors in DNA. However, most cancers occur sporadically in individuals in whom their families do not have such a familial predisposition to cancer. Even though these individuals do not come from families with exceptional rates of cancer, they might still have mutations in genes that cause a slightly elevated rather than a highly elevated mutation rate. With the UK Biobank data, we now have an opportunity to detect these slightly elevated levels of DNA mutation in the general population, and what might cause those mutations, to understand why sporadic cancer might occur even when it strikes families without a strong history of cancer. This study might help us eventually be able to predict for each person, many years before cancer might happen, whether they have a slightly higher or lower risk of cancer. Most importantly, this may lead to better approaches for early cancer detection and treatment.