Blame it on your ancestors! Writing for the Reuters news service, Michael Kahn writes about a married couple who sailed to America from England around 1630. This one couple is now believed to be the reason why thousands of people in the United States are at higher risk of a hereditary form of colon cancer.
Using a genetic fingerprint, a U.S. team traced back a so-called founder genetic mutation to the couple found among two large families currently living in Utah and New York.
Cancer researchers at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah did not name the families but said thousands of people across the country may have the mutation that spread widely as the couple's descendants branched apart over many generations.
"The fact that this mutation can be traced so far back in time suggests it could be carried by many more families in the United States than is currently known," said Deb Neklason, who led the study. "In fact, this founder mutation might be related to many colon cancer cases in the United States."
You can read more about this fascinating story at http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSL2856779820080102.