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Sci. Signal., 18 September 2012
Vol. 5, Issue 242, p. re5
Pseudogenes: Newly Discovered Players in Human Cancer
Oncogenomics Unit, Core Research Laboratory, Istituto Toscano Tumori (CRL-ITT), c/o IFC-CNR Via Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy.
Gloss: Pseudogenes are similar to coding genes but contain defects that render them unable to encode fully functional proteins. Mistakenly considered nonfunctional, pseudogenes have long been dismissed as "junk DNA." In this Review, I summarize advances in the understanding of the functions of pseudogenes that have established them as versatile regulators of gene expression and key players in the pathogenesis of human cancer.