Malignant melanoma in Xiphophorus fish hybrids is caused by the activity of a dominant oncogene Tu. By combining genetic and molecular approaches, we have isolated the melanoma oncogene. We show that its level of expression correlates with the degree of malignancy of the tumour. The corresponding proto-oncogene is developmentally regulated. The Tu gene codes for a novel receptor tyrosine kinase which is closely related to the receptor for epidermal growth factor.
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