CANCER

Tumors evolve free of Darwinian constraints

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Science  04 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6265, pp. 1218-1219
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6265.1218-f

Mutations help shape how tumors evolve. What constrains the diversity of these mutations is less clear. Ling et al. determined the spectrum of single-nucleotide variations in 286 samples from a single heptaocellular carcinoma tumor. They then modeled how mutations accumulated in tumors using population genetic theory. Their analysis predicted that the tumor harbored more than 100 million mutations. Such high genetic diversity suggests that the tumors evolve in a non-Darwinian manner, because Darwinian evolution generally reduces genetic diversity within a population. These results imply that microscopic tumors are likely to be highly diverse, suggesting that even these tumors could quickly develop resistance in the face of therapy.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1519556112 (2015).

Reversible surface configurations in a two-component network

PHOTO: LEE ET AL., ACS NANO (9 NOVEMEBER 2015) © 2015 AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY

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