Ruby Gonzalez

Major and Classification

Biological Sciences

Faculty Mentor

Lucio Comai, Ph.D.


Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

McNair Project

“MYC & WRN: Their Role in Cancer Development”

Project Abstract

Cancer cells have the ability to proliferate rapidly despite extensive genomic damage. Cells with elevated expression of the myelocytomatosis oncogene (MYC) are similar to cancer cells but have reduced lifespans due to DNA damage. Interestingly, some cancers display high expression of MYC, yet manage to have long replicative lifespans. Werner’s Syndrome Protein (WRN) is believed to be responsible for this longevity. Previous research has found a positive correlation between MYC and WRN, however, none have determined if this relationship is causal. The aim of this study was to determine if the relationship between MYC and WRN relationship is causal. In order to examine this aim, we attempted to raise the level of expression of MYC in a mammalian cell line, while silencing the WRN coding gene in one group. We hypothesized that the group without WRN would fail to sustain rapid proliferation while the group with WRN would not. However, we encountered difficulty in cloning MYC in order to increase its level of expression.