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Experimental evolution in cancer cell lines

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Caroline Newnham.

Host: Jane Charlesworth

Experimental evolution has thrown light on many longstanding debates in evolutionary biology. We are applying techniques adapted from microbial experimental evolution to cancer cell lines in vitro, focusing on traits relevant to metastasis. Monitoring cell behaviours via time-lapse microscopy we find that cell speed, but not cell division rate, is highly heritable and therefore rapid responses to selection can be expected; applying deep learning techniques allows us to extend this approach to more complex cell traits such as cell shape, rates of shape change, and cells’ responses to their social environment. We have developed assays and selection regimes to test and select for cells’ capacity to invade tissue and colonise new environments; proof-of-principle experiments suggest cell-cell competition for resources may increase cell motility in cancer cells, consistent with ecological theories of the evolution of dispersal.

This talk is part of the Genetics Seminar series.

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