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Lasker Award goes to breast-cancer researcher

The 2014 Albert Lasker Special Achievement Award has been awarded to the geneticist Mary-Claire King. King, of the University of Washington in Seattle, is the leader of the team that discovered the BRCA genes, mutations of which are linked to breast cancer. King’s team found that the 10% of women affected by such mutations have nearly an 80% chance of developing breast cancer. The rush to develop tests for the mutations triggered a legal dispute in the United States that ended with a US Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the patenting of naturally-occurring genes. 

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