This inaugural issue of Breast Disease is focused on one of the most important genes involved in the genesis of breast and ovarian cancer, BRCA1. More than any other example, the history of BRCA1 shows how modern science can quickly resolve a complex question, and how our society is capable of addressing the social ramifications of these findings. In this context, BRCA1 becomes an intriguing case study of the impact of modern science on the conduct of clinical care, on ethics, and on the law. In this book timely reviews by outstanding authors have been assembled who discuss all aspects of the BRCA1 story: the biology, the clinical impact, the population genetics, and the social and legal implications. Thus the scope of these reviews matches the breadth of the problem.