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U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Says Finds Key Tobacco Gene

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U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. on Monday said its scientists have discovered a gene that carries the code for a key nicotine-related enzyme, which could eventually lead to production of tobacco with lower levels of a cancer-causing substance.

The company, a unit of UST Inc., said it expects to receive U.S. and international patents related to the discovery in the near future.The gene carries the code for nicotine demethylase, the enzyme that facilitates the conversion of nicotine into nornicotine. Nornicotine is a precursor to the tobacco-specific nitrosamine N-nitrosonornicotine (NNN), which has been known to cause cancer in animals, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.The discovery could lead to the production of “low-nitrosamine tobacco with significantly reduced NNN levels within the next decade,” Robert Lawrence, Jr. U.S. Smokeless executive vice president, said in a news release.UST shares were up 43 cents at $53.59 on Monday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.(Source: Reuters Health, March 2005)

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Posted On: 29 March, 2005
Modified On: 16 January, 2014


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