A woman diagnosed with 12 tumors in her lifetime has a never-before-seen genetic mutation

One woman developed 12 tumors — seven benign and five cancerous — before her 40th birthday. Medical researchers recently discovered why she is so prone to the abnormal growths: She carries a set of genetic mutations never before seen in humans.

The woman, now 36, carries two mutant copies of a gene called MAD1L1, one from each parent, according to a new report published Wednesday (Nov. 2) in the journal Scientific progress (opens in new tab). The gene encodes a protein called MAD1 that plays a crucial role in cell division.

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