Research Article

The evolutionary dynamics and fitness landscape of clonal hematopoiesis

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Science  27 Mar 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6485, pp. 1449-1454
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay9333

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Evolutionary dynamics in hematopoiesis

Cells accumulate mutations as we age, and these mutations can be a source of diseases such as cancer. How cells containing mutations evolve, are maintained, and proliferate within the body has not been well characterized. Using a quantitative framework, Watson et al. applied population genetic theory to estimate mutation accumulation in cells in blood from sequencing data derived from nearly 50,000 healthy individuals (see the Perspective by Curtis). By evaluating how mutations differ between blood cell populations, a phenomenon known as clonal hematopoiesis, the researchers could observe how recurrent mutations can drive certain clonal lineages to high frequencies within an individual. The risk of specific mutations, some of which are associated with leukemias, rising to high frequencies may therefore be a function of cellular selection and the age at which the mutation originated.

Science, this issue p. 1449; see also p. 1426

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