The p53 gene exists in all human cells and might be considered one of the most important human genes. It controls an extremely important cellular process known asapoptosis.
Apoptosis can simply be described as programmed cell death. The reason we’re not all 20 feet tall and weigh a thousand pounds is that cells have a limited lifespan. When this lifespan has been fulfilled, the p53 initiates a cascade of processes that
result in controlled cell death and the recycling of usable cellular material. The p53 gene can also be described as the protector of the genome (our DNA) because if harmful mutations occur (those that could result in cancer) it may also initiate the mutation damages the p53 gene so that it cannot do its job, cancer can result. In fact, it is now believed that as many as 50% or more of human cancers result from damage to the p53 gene.
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