Women of Interest – Dr. Mary Claire King

Dr. Mary Claire King, an American Human geneticist, was born February 7, 1946, in Illinois, United States. King is recognized for identifying the genes responsible for certain types of breast cancer, she also was able to demonstrate that humans and chimpanzees are 99% genetically identical. In 1973, she received her doctorate in genetics from the University of California in Berkeley. While at Berkeley, King discovered the BRCA1 gene, which is responsible for 5-10% of all breast cancers. The discovery of BRCA1 has become invaluable in the study of many other common diseases. King’s human rights work began in 1984 when she used dental genetics to identify missing persons. She was able to identify 59 missing children in Argentina and return them to their biological parents. She has worked with many human rights organizations, including Physicians for Human Rights and Amnesty International, helping to identify missing persons in Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Haiti, just to name a few. Dr. King was the recipient of many awards and honors.

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