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Reviewed August 2007
What is the official name of the BRCA2 gene?
The official name of this gene is “breast cancer 2, early onset.”
BRCA2 is the gene's official symbol. The BRCA2 gene is also known by other names, listed below.
Read more about gene names and symbols on the About page.
What is the normal function of the BRCA2 gene?
The BRCA2 gene belongs to a class of genes known as tumor suppressor genes. Like many other tumor suppressors, the protein produced from the BRCA2 gene helps prevent cells from growing and dividing too rapidly or in an uncontrolled way.
The BRCA2 gene provides instructions for making a protein that is directly involved in the repair of damaged DNA. In the nucleus of many types of normal cells, the BRCA2 protein interacts with several other proteins, including the proteins produced from the RAD51 and PALB2 genes, to mend breaks in DNA. These breaks can be caused by natural and medical radiation or other environmental exposures, and also occur when chromosomes exchange genetic material in preparation for cell division. By helping repair DNA, BRCA2 plays a role in maintaining the stability of a cell's genetic information.
Researchers suspect that the BRCA2 protein may have additional functions within cells. For example, the protein may help regulate cytokinesis, which is the step in cell division when the fluid surrounding the nucleus (the cytoplasm) divides to form two separate cells. Researchers are investigating the protein's other potential activities.
Does the BRCA2 gene share characteristics with other genes?
The BRCA2 gene belongs to a family of genes called FANC (Fanconi anemia, complementation groups).
A gene family is a group of genes that share important characteristics. Classifying individual genes into families helps researchers describe how genes are related to each other. For more information, see What are gene families? in the Handbook.
How are changes in the BRCA2 gene related to health conditions?
Genetics Home Reference provides information about Fanconi anemia, which is also associated with changes in the BRCA2 gene.
Where is the BRCA2 gene located?
Cytogenetic Location: 13q12.3
Molecular Location on chromosome 13: base pairs 32,314,861 to 32,399,849
The BRCA2 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 13 at position 12.3.
More precisely, the BRCA2 gene is located from base pair 32,314,861 to base pair 32,399,849 on chromosome 13.
See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about BRCA2?
You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about BRCA2 helpful.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for genetics professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for the BRCA2 gene or gene products?
See How are genetic conditions and genes named? in the Handbook.
Where can I find general information about genes?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding BRCA2?
anemia ; cancer ; cell ; cell division ; class ; cytokinesis ; cytoplasm ; DNA ; gene ; hereditary ; melanoma ; nucleus ; ovarian ; pancreatic ; prostate ; protein ; radiation ; susceptibility ; susceptibility gene ; tumor
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (16 links)
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.