What is KRAS?

KRAS (pronounced kay-raz) is the name of a gene that can be involved in starting a cancer and then in helping the cancer to grow.

Genes are the way that information about what your body is like and how it works is passed on from your parents to you. They are sets of instructions that tell your body’s cells how to do things; usually genes contain instructions on how to make a protein. Each gene contains the instructions or ‘code’ for a different protein. The code in genes is made of DNA, and genes are found in the chromosomes in the cell’s nucleus.

The protein made by the KRAS gene is also called KRAS. This protein forms just one part of a complicated process that makes some cells grow and then divide, making more of the same type of cells. Other genes make other proteins, which have different functions from KRAS.

Sometimes spontaneous changes called mutations occur in the DNA in genes. Mutations can change the instructions in a gene, which may then make an abnormal protein.

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Last Update 21.04.2013