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Oncogenesis as a selective force: adaptive evolution in the face of a transmissible cancer


Russell, T and Madsen, T and Thomas, F and Hamede, R and Ujvari, B, Oncogenesis as a selective force: adaptive evolution in the face of a transmissible cancer, BioEssays, 40, (3) Article 1700146. ISSN 1521-1878 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2018 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

DOI: doi:10.1002/bies.201700146


Similar to parasites, malignant cells exploit the host for energy, resources and protection, thereby impairing host health and fitness. Although cancer is widespread in the animal kingdom, its impact on life history traits and strategies have rarely been documented. Devil facial tumour disease (DFTD), a transmissible cancer, afflicting Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii), provides an ideal model system to monitor the impact of cancer on host life-history, and to elucidate the evolutionary arms-race between malignant cells and their hosts. Here we provide an overview of parasite-induced host life history (LH) adaptations, then both phenotypic plasticity of LH responses and changes in allele frequencies that affect LH traits of Tasmanian devils in response to DFTD are discussed. We conclude that akin to parasites, cancer can directly and indirectly affect devil LH traits and trigger host evolutionary responses. Consequently, it is important to consider oncogenic processes as a selective force in wildlife.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cancer, Tasmanina devil, evolutionary biology
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Host-parasite interactions
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments
UTAS Author:Hamede, R (Dr Rodrigo Hamede Ross)
UTAS Author:Ujvari, B (Dr Beata Ujvari)
ID Code:126019
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2018-05-18
Last Modified:2019-02-28

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