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tumour suppressor gene

any of a class of genes that are normally involved in regulating cell growth but that may become cancer-causing when damaged. Tumour suppressor genes encode for proteins that are involved in inhibiting the proliferation of cells, which is crucial to normal cell development and differentiation. Because of this ability, tumour suppressor genes can also act to stem the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. Genetic damage, or mutation, that occurs to these genes contributes to the development of a cancerous tumour

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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