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Tissues of multicellular organisms consist of stem cells and differentiated cells. Stem cells divide to produce new stem cells or differentiated cells. Differentiated cells divide to produce new differentiated cells. We show that such a tissue design can reduce the rate of fixation of mutations that increase the net proliferation rate of cells. It has,(More)
Somatic mutations must happen often during development because of the large number of cell divisions to expand from a single-cell zygote to a full organism. A mutation in development carries forward to all descendant cells, causing genetic mosaicism. Widespread genetic mosaicism may influence diseases that derive from a few genetically altered cells, such(More)
The vector-borne bacterium Borrelia hermsii, a relapsing fever agent, switches gene expression of a surface protein between different antigenic variants, thereby causing sequential waves of immune escape within hosts and increasing the likelihood of transmission. Analogous programmed systems of antigenic variation occur in African trypanosomes and(More)
In multicellular organisms, cells cooperate within a well-defined developmental program. Cancer is a breakdown of such cooperation: cells mutate to phenotypes of uncoordinated proliferation. We study basic principles of the architecture of solid tissues that influence the rate of cancer initiation. In particular, we explore how somatic selection acts to(More)
Somatic mutation plays a key role in transforming normal cells into cancerous cells. The analysis of cancer progression therefore requires the study of how point mutations and chromosomal mutations accumulate in cellular lineages. The spread of somatic mutations depends on the mutation rate, the number of cell divisions in the history of a cellular lineage,(More)
Knudson [Knudson, A. G. (1971) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 68, 820-823] suggested that progression of retinoblastoma follows from two mutational events. Individuals who inherit one mutated gene copy should follow an age-onset pattern set by only a single rate-limiting step for transformation, whereas normal individuals should follow an age-onset pattern set(More)
Genomes of some parasites contain dozens of alternative and highly diverged surface antigens, of which only a single one is expressed in any cell. Individual cells occasionally change expression of their surface antigen, allowing them to escape immune surveillance. These switches appear to occur in a partly random way, creating a diverse set of antigenic(More)
Somatic mosaicism for mutations in disease-causing genes has been reported in several recent studies. Examples include hemophilia A, many skin disorders, and several cancers such as retinoblastoma and familial adenomatous polyposis. Many of these disorders require multiple mutations in order to express the disease phenotype. For example, two recessive(More)