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Colon Cancer Linked To Mormon Ancestor

with 3 comments

Amazing genealogy studies combined with genetic research has detected the reason why thousands of people in the United States have colon cancer.

A married couple who sailed to America from England around 1630 are the reason why thousands of people in the United States are at higher risk of a hereditary form of colon cancer, researchers said on Wednesday.

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.”

Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It will affect 153,000 Americans in 2008, according to the American Cancer Society, and will kill 52,000.


The U.S. team first focused on the Utah branch of the family — numbering about 5,000 people today — 14 years ago because its members had an unusually high risk of colon cancer.

Because the family was Mormon, the researchers were able to mine a wealth of genealogical information taken from detailed church records over the years that is now part of a large genetics database in Utah, Neklason said.

While most of the records in the study related to the Utah part of the family, the researchers eventually identified the New York branch as well.


Written by smalltalkwitht

January 2, 2008 at 3:09 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Forgive me if you’re not trying to make this a “Mormon” issue but from your headline it seems like it may be interpreted as such.

    I’d like to point that the ancestor “responsible” for carrying the gene was not Mormon as the church was not founded until 1830. Some of the descendants were Mormon who did their family history which enabled the research.


    January 2, 2008 at 5:54 pm

  2. I find it fascinating that because of the Mormon family’s ancestry, that they could provide genetic background to help research this dreaded disease. I applaud the Mormons for being so detailed in their genealogy. It’s not a negative in my viewpoint but a vital encouragement for families to know their medical background.


    January 2, 2008 at 6:08 pm

  3. I agree with David. It does sound like you are blaming colon cancer on Mormons. (Your ad for Gov. Huckabee next to the article is a little incriminating too.)

    I hope those who read your article also take the time to read your response to David because it can certainly be taken the wrong way.

    Heidi W.

    January 3, 2008 at 12:56 am

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