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Casting Doubt on the Role of Mitochondria in Tumorigenesis

PLoS Medicine
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020373
  • Synopsis
  • Cancer Biology
  • Genetics/Genomics/Gene Therapy
  • Oncology
  • Medicine


PLME0211_1050-1055.indd PLoS Medicine | 1050 Synopses of Research Articles Open access, freely available online November 2005 | Volume 2 | Issue 11 | e373 | e391 Over 3 million people died of AIDS last year and about 5 million others became infected with HIV, bringing the total number of people living with the infection to nearly 40 million. The continuing rise in the number of new cases makes it a priority to investigate all possible measures that might reduce the risk of infection, particularly—but by no means only—in Africa, which has 10% of the world’s population but two-thirds of the world’s people with HIV. In many African tribal groups, men are circumcised, usually in late childhood or as teenagers, and this is an important part of their cultural identity. In other African ethnic groups, men are not circumcised. From observational studies dating back to the 1980s, it has become clear that HIV infection rates are greater in those groups where men were not circumcised. It has, however, remained a matter of speculation as to whether it is circumcision itself or some other difference in behavior that has a protective effect. What has been needed to settle this question is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the use of circumcision as a preventive intervention. Auvert et al. have completed the fi rst such trial in the Orange Farm area, a semiurban region close to Johannesburg, South Africa. They offered young, heterosexual uncircumcised men the chance to have the operation, explaining that half of those who came forward First Trial of Male Circumcision against HIV DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020391 Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been intensively studied over the past two decades, and point mutations, more commonly known as deletions, of this DNA are known to be involved in several syndromes. Unlike nuclear DNA, with 46 chromosomes, half from each parent, mtDNA is just one piece of genome of which the

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