Markus Schober and Elaine Fuchs, The Rockefeller University, New York, N.Y./NIH

Cancer genes have a secret hiding place

Cancer is driven by mutations in genes that cause cells to divide uncontrollably. Scientists have long assumed that these errant genes lie on chromosomes, the packages that hold most of a cell’s DNA. But according to a report in Nature, in many cancer types, tumor cells also contain loops of free DNA that carry cancerous genes. The San Diego Union-Tribune writes that these overlooked strands of malicious DNA could offer researchers new ways to detect and treat cancer.

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