Gene of the Month - Merlin
And finally it's time for our Gene of the Month, and this time it's Merlin. Rather than being named after King Arthur's legendary wizard, Merlin is an acronym, short for "Moesin-Ezrin-Radixin-Like Protein" - you can see why it's a useful nickname. Also known as Neurofibromin 2 or NF2, after the name of the gene that encodes it, the Merlin protein plays a part in the biological scaffolding inside nerve cells, helping them to keep their shape. Faults in its gene, NF2, cause tumours in the nervous system, particular in nerves in the ear. So it seems that just like the protecting force of its namesake, Merlin also helps to protect us against cancer.