Centuries of genome instability and evolution in soft-shell clam, Mya arenaria, bivalve transmissible neoplasia

Samuel F.M. Hart, Marisa A. Yonemitsu, Rachael M. Giersch, Fiona E.S. Garrett, Brian F. Beal, Gloria Arriagada, Brian W. Davis, Elaine A. Ostrander, Stephen P. Goff, Michael J. Metzger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Transmissible cancers are infectious parasitic clones that metastasize to new hosts, living past the death of the founder animal in which the cancer initiated. We investigated the evolutionary history of a cancer lineage that has spread though the soft-shell clam (Mya arenaria) population by assembling a chromosome-scale soft-shell clam reference genome and characterizing somatic mutations in transmissible cancer. We observe high mutation density, widespread copy-number gain, structural rearrangement, loss of heterozygosity, variable telomere lengths, mitochondrial genome expansion and transposable element activity, all indicative of an unstable cancer genome. We also discover a previously unreported mutational signature associated with overexpression of an error-prone polymerase and use this to estimate the lineage to be >200 years old. Our study reveals the ability for an invertebrate cancer lineage to survive for centuries while its genome continues to structurally mutate, likely contributing to the evolution of this lineage as a parasitic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Cancer
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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