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Researchers on Thursday said they have identified the genes that enable an endangered Himalayan plant to produce a chemical vital to making a widely used chemotherapy drug, and inserted them into an easily grown laboratory plant that then produced the same chemical.

The endangered plant, called the mayapple, produces a precursor chemical to the chemotherapy drug etoposide, which is used in many patients with lung cancer, testicular cancer, brain cancer, lymphoma, leukemia and other cancers.

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