Researchers show that genetic background regulates tumour differences

Researchers from SciLifeLab/Uppsala University, Sweden, and the Broad Institute, USA, have identified both similarities and differences between a single tumour type in multiple dogs breeds; a finding they believe parallels the situation in the cancer of human patients.

This novel finding could lead to a better understanding for how varied genetic background influences the differences which occur in lymphoma tumours. The results were published today in Genome Research.

Lymphoma is the most common blood-borne cancer in the Western world. The different types of lymphoma span from the aggressive to those that have a relatively mild outcome. Dogs also develop lymphoma. In terms of genetics, dogs are very similar within, but diverse across breeds, and so they offer a unique possibility to study genetic factors driving inherited diseases. Different dog breeds have varying risk levels for developing different types of lymphoma, even though they live in the same environment. This shows that there are genetic causes for the type of lymphoma a dog develops. This study is the first to show that the genetic changes in a tumour – mutations – are influenced by what breed the dog is, i.e. their genetic background.

“We were surprised to see how much the dog’s genetic background affects the mutations. It is known that the genes that accumulate the most mutations are linked to the tumour type, and we found this too, however we showed that the mutational spectrum of a tumour is determined by breed type”, said Ingegerd Elvers who is a researcher in SciLifeLab Co-Director Kerstin Lindblad-Toh’s group.

Read the full press release at Uppsala University


Last updated: 2015-09-30

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