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Title: The functional relevance of somatic synonymous mutations in melanoma and other cancers
Authors: Qutob, Nouar
Samuels, Yardena
Elnitski, Laura
Gartner, Jared J.
Keywords: Cancer - Molecular diagnosis;Melanoma - Molecular diagnosis
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: Recent technological advances in sequencing have flooded the field of cancer research with knowledge about somatic mutations for many different cancer types. Most cancer genomics studies focus on mutations that alter the amino acid sequence, ignoring the potential impact of synonymous mutations. However, accumulating experimental evidence has demonstrated clear consequences for gene function, leading to a widespread recognition of the functional role of synonymous mutations and their causal connection to various diseases. Here, we review the evidence supporting the direct impact of synonymous mutations on gene function via gene splicing; mRNA stability, folding, and translation; protein folding; and miRNA-based regulation of expression. These results highlight the functional contribution of synonymous mutations to oncogenesis and the need to further investigate their detection and prioritization for experimental assessment.
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