Understanding Genetics: Genes, Mutations, and Chromosomes
What is a gene?
A gene is the basic unit of heredity that is passed from parent to child. Genes are made of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). DNA carries the instructions a cell needs to make proteins.
What is a mutated gene?
A mutated gene is a gene whose chemistry has been changed. After a cell divides, the change is also expressed in its daughter cells.
What is a chromosome?
A chromosome is a structure that contains several genes. Chromosomes are found in the cell's nucleus.
KIT— Probable Cause of GIST: When This Protein Becomes Abnormal
What is KIT?
KIT is a protein that is located on the surface of normal cells. It sends a signal inside the cells that tells them to grow only as needed.
How KIT causes GIST
It is probable that when KIT becomes abnormal due to a mutation, its signal stays on all the time. It is thought that these mutations cause cells to multiply out of control.
Why are GIST tumors dangerous?
Cancerous GIST cells are dangerous because they grow faster and live longer than the healthy surrounding cells. The longer the cancerous cells live, the more potential they have to become dangerous, and the more likely they are to spread to other parts of the body.