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Zbtb7, originally named Pokemon, is a gene that may act as a master switch for cancer, and is responsible for the evolution of cancer. The leader of the research team which discovered this, geneticist Pier Paolo Pandolfi from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City, said the gene is unique in that it is needed for other oncogenes to cause cancer.[1] Discovery of the gene was first published in the January 2005 issue of Nature.[2]

The original name, Pokemon, stands for "POK erythroid myeloid ontogenic factor" and is most likely a backronym of the Pokémon media franchise. Nintendo subsidiary Pokémon USA, not wanting the bad press inherent with its trademark sharing a name with a cancer-causing gene, threatened the center with legal action in December 2005, at which point MSKCC decided to rename it as Zbtb7.[3]


See also


  1. Jai A. Dennison (2005-01-20). "Switching Off 'Pokemon' Gene May Block Cancer-Cell Formation". Daily News Central. Retrieved 2006-06-27.
  2. Takahiro Maeda, Robin M. Hobbs; et al. (2005-01-20). "Role of the proto-oncogene Pokemon in cellular transformation and ARF repression". Nature (433): 278–285. doi:10.1038/nature03203. Retrieved 2006-06-27.
  3. Brendan Sinclair (2005-12-19). "Pokemon USA threatens to sue cancer researchers". GameSpot. Retrieved 2006-06-27.

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