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Genetic diversity, inbreeding and cancer


Ujvari, B and Klaassen, M and Raven, N and Russell, T and Vittecoq, M and Hamede, R and Thomas, F and Madsen, T, Genetic diversity, inbreeding and cancer, Proceedings from the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 285, (1878) Article 20172589. ISSN 1471-2954 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.2589


Genetic diversity is essential for adaptive capacities, providing organisms with the potential of successfully responding to intrinsic and extrinsic challenges. Although a clear reciprocal link between genetic diversity and resistance to parasites and pathogens has been established across taxa, the impact of loss of genetic diversity by inbreeding on the emergence and progression of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, has been overlooked. Here we provide an overview of such associations and show that low genetic diversity and inbreeding associate with an increased risk of cancer in both humans and animals. Cancer being a multifaceted disease, loss of genetic diversity can directly (via accumulation of oncogenic homozygous mutations) and indirectly (via increased susceptibility to oncogenic pathogens) impact abnormal cell emergence and escape of immune surveillance. The observed link between reduced genetic diversity and cancer in wildlife may further imperil the long-term survival of numerous endangered species, highlighting the need to consider the impact of cancer in conservation biology. Finally, the somewhat incongruent data originating from human studies suggest that the association between genetic diversity and cancer development is multifactorial and may be tumour specific. Further studies are therefore crucial in order to elucidate the underpinnings of the interactions between genetic diversity, inbreeding and cancer.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cancer, genetics, evolutuion,
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:Ujvari, B (Dr Beata Ujvari)
UTAS Author:Hamede, R (Dr Rodrigo Hamede Ross)
ID Code:126022
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:30
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2018-05-18
Last Modified:2021-01-19

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