A Comparative Genomics Approach to Understanding Transmissible Cancer in Tasmanian Devils

Janine Deakin, Katherine Belov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    A fatal contagious cancer is driving an entire species to extinction. Comparative genomics will unravel the origin and evolution of devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). The DFTD allograft arose from a Schwann cell in a female Tasmanian devil more than 15 years ago; since then, the tumor has passed through at least 100,000 hosts, evolving and mutating along the way. Tumor genome sequencing and molecular cytogenetic technologies now allow direct comparisons of candidate genes involved in tumorigenesis in human cancers. As a stable transmissible cancer, DFTD provides unique insights into cancer development, progression, and immune evasion and is likely to help increase our understanding of human cancer. In addition, these studies provide hope for discoveries of drug targets or vaccine candidates that will prevent the extinction of this iconic Australian marsupial.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-222
    Number of pages16
    JournalAnnual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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