Genetics

Tracking Taz's transmissible cancer

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
483,
Page:
513
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/483513e
Published online

Highly read on www.cell.com 20 Feb–21 Mar

The contagious facial cancer devastating populations of the endangered Tasmanian devil in Australia probably originated from a female animal, a genomic analysis finds.

Elizabeth Murchison and Michael Stratton at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK, and their colleagues sequenced the genomes of two healthy Tasmanian devils and two geographically distinct tumours derived from the cancer, which is spread through biting. They also analysed the genomes of 104 other tumours from across Tasmania and found that the original tumour has evolved into different subclones. Six devils had tumours with two different genetic profiles, suggesting that exposure to the cancer does not protect the animals against future bites.

Cell 148, 780791 (2012)

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