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A gene that causes cells to grow in an uncontrolled manner, i.e., that causes cancer. Oncogenes are mutant forms of normal functional genes (called proto-oncogenes) that have a role in normal cell proliferation. Oncogenes are found in tumors and in retroviruses; in the latter case, having been picked up along with retroviral genes during retroviral replication in the host. Once incorporated as part of the retroviral genome, they are activated at inappropriate times and places by retroviral promoters, thereby becoming oncogenes.
Publication Source: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Publication Date: 1999
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