RARE DNA faults in two genes have been strongly linked to bowel cancer by Oxford University researchers.

They sequenced the entire DNA genomes of 20 people from families with a strong history of bowel cancer.

Eight of the 20 people had developed bowel cancer, while the rest had a close relative who developed the disease.

The findings have been published in the journal Nature Genetics.

Prof Ian Tomlinson, who led the research at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford University, said: “These are two rare faults, but if you inherit them your chance of bowel cancer is high.

“By testing people with a strong family history of the disease for these, we can identify those who are at high risk and try to prevent the disease by using colonoscopy and other methods.”

Cancer Research UK part-funded the work.