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Clonally transmissible cancers in dogs and Tasmanian devils

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Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) and canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT) are the only two known naturally occurring clonally transmissible cancers. These are cancers that can be transmitted between individuals by the physical transfer of living cancer cells. Thus DFTD and CTVT are long-lived somatic cell lineages that each first originated once as cancers in single individuals but that have now spread through their respective host populations as parasitic clonal cell lineages. We are using genetics to analyse the origin and evolution of these diseases. Clonally transmissible cancers are a poorly understood type of infectious pathogen; although there are only two known diseases of this type, such diseases can emerge rapidly and have disastrous implications for species conservation.

This talk is part of the Computational and Systems Biology series.

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