Category: Media

Some more publicity for our last paper!

We are very pleased that there continues to be interest in our latest work, which is about the influence that common germline variants in the MC1R gene have on the somatic landscape of melanoma tumours.

These last days Daniela was interviewed by Nature blogs and, and also wrote blog posts for the Melanoma Genetics Consortium’s MELGEN Early Training Network and the scientific magazine Genética Médica (in Spanish).

And, finally, we also made it to Men’s Health magazine! Dave was interviewed and featured in a report published this week.

Our new publication is hitting the international news!

Our last publication came out earlier this week:

Robles-Espinoza CD, Roberts ND, Chen S, Leacy FP, Alexandrov LB, Pornputtapong N, Halaban R, Krauthammer M, Cui R, Timothy Bishop D, Adams DJ (2016). Germline MC1R status influences somatic mutation burden in melanoma. Nat Commun. Jul 12;7:12064. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12064. PMID: 27403562

Here is a link to the paper in the Nature Communications website, and here a link to the press release by the Sanger Institute. In this paper, we describe one of the first common genetic profiles (common variants in MC1R, a gene which controls pigment production) having a large impact in the somatic burden of a tumour (melanomas). People with two MC1R variant alleles usually have red hair, but people with one MC1R variant allele are not redheads and most probably don’t know they are carriers. In this study, we observe that melanoma tumours from people with one variant MC1R allele have 42% more sun-associated mutations in their tumours than people with no MC1R variant alleles, which is comparable to the figure obtained in 21 years of age. Thus, the message is that everyone needs to be careful in the sun, as you might be at elevated risk and not know it!

We are very impressed and pleased by the reception it has had by the international press! It was reported by the BBC and The Guardian (overall the best reporting in our opinion), The Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Telegraph, Reuters, Elite Daily, the Weather Channel, Haaretz, The Mirror, The Sun, the Scientist, the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, the Huffington Post, the Independent, Yahoo News, The New Zealand Herald, the Japan Times, the Irish Post and the NBC Today, among others. We also found good analyses in Spanish, by Ciencia Xplora and We found that it even made it to the television news in Fox! The British National Health System provided a good analysis of the claims made by the press and the actual science in the paper. However, we are very happy that the point of the message got across in almost all of these stories.

Dave (Sanger Institute) and Tim (University of Leeds), who supervised the work, gave radio and TV interviews to the BBC Cambridgeshire, BBC Look North and Radio Wales. Daniela gave an interview to the beauty magazine Allure, who transmitted the message accurately.

It was also reported by the popular science news outlet I F*cking Love Science. It reached 11,100 shares in 3 days!



<– We even found it in the printed version of New Scientist magazine! (Thanks to Dave for the photo).


So, overall, we are quite happy with the media response – most of the outlets reported the research accurately and transmitted the important public health message 🙂

Our work in the media

The aim of this post is to collect the media work that has been done around our previous publications. One of our publications in 2014 generated widespread interest and here we recollect the most important media mentions.


Robles-Espinoza CD, Harland M, Ramsay AJ, Aoude LG, Quesada V, Ding Z, Pooley KA, Pritchard AL, Tiffen JC, Petljak M, Palmer JM, Symmons J, Johansson P, Stark MS, Gartside MG, Snowden H, Montgomery GW, Martin NG, Liu JZ, Choi J, Makowski M, Brown KM, Dunning AM, Keane TM, López-Otín C, Gruis NA, Hayward NK, Bishop DT, Newton-Bishop JA, Adams DJ (2014). POT1 loss-of-function variants predispose to familial melanoma. Nat Genet 46(5):478-81. doi: 10.1038/ng.2947. PMID: 24686849

In this paper, we report a novel high-penetrance melanoma susceptibility gene, POT1 (which stands for protection of telomeres). We identify rare, loss-of-function variants that increase the telomere length of carriers, the potential mechanism by which these variants act. Additionally, this is the first mechanism for a “telomere-lengthening syndrome” described to date, to the best of our knowledge.

The Sanger Institute published a press release. Subsequently, some news outlets picked it up, such as the BBC, the Australian ABC and Science Daily, and was analysed in depth by the British National Health System. We were also very happy to see some news in Spanish, such as this one from RTVE, this one from Noticias de la Ciencia y Tecnología, this one from ABC Salud and this one from Diario Médico. Daniela also wrote a post for the Sanger Institute blog.

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Daniela also won a best talk award for this work at the 2013 meeting of the Society for Melanoma Research and recorded a 30-minute talk on the discovery, supported by the iBiology web portal, the Lasker Foundation and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.