Gestational tumors as a model to probe reticulate evolution in human neoplasia
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1 Lerna Consulting, New Haven, CT, USA
Yuri Lazebnik, email: email@example.com
Keywords: cancer; reticulate evolution; gestational tumors; cell fusion; horizontal gene transfer
Received: December 11, 2018 Accepted: December 12, 2018 Published: January 08, 2019
Reticulate evolution, which involves the transfer of genes and other inheritable information between organisms, is of interest to a cancer researcher if only because “pirating” a trait can help a cell and its progeny adapt, survive, or take over much faster than by accumulating random mutations. However, despite being observed repeatedly in experimental models of neoplasia, reticulate evolution is assumed to be negligible in human cancer primarily because detecting gene transfer between the cells of the same genetic background can be difficult or impossible. This commentary suggests that gestational tumors, which are genetically distinct from the women who carry them, provide an opportunity to test whether reticulate evolution affects the development of human neoplasia.
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