BRCA1 is a tumor-suppressor gene linked to familial breast and ovarian cancers. In the July 21 Cell, Bochar et al. find that the predominant BRCA1-containing complex in human cells is the SWI/SNF-related chromatin remodeling complex (Cell 2000, 102:257-265). This may explain the multitude of properties that have been ascribed to BRCA1, including effects on transcription, DNA repair, and cell-cycle checkpoints. Mutations in SNF5, another subunit of the SWI/SNF complex, have been shown to result in aggressive pediatric cancer, and a close inspection of other SWI/SNF proteins and genes may turn up other cancer culprits.

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