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proto-oncogene vs. oncogene

proto-oncogene vs. oncogene: What's the difference?

Proto-oncogenes are normal cells that, when mutated, convert into oncogenes, which are cancerous. Proto-oncogenes generally fulfill important functions in the body, like helping stimulate cell division or prevent cell death. But when they mutate, they do these things too much, which leads to cancerous growth.

[ proh-toh-ong-kuh-jeen ]
  1. a normally present gene that appears to have a role in the regulation of normal cell growth, but that is converted to an oncogene by mutation.
[ ong-kuh-jeen ]
  1. any gene that is a causative factor in the initiation of cancerous growth.

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