Cell death in genome evolution

Xinchen Teng, J. Marie Hardwick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Inappropriate survival of abnormal cells underlies tumorigenesis. Most discoveries about programmed cell death have come from studying model organisms. Revisiting the experimental contexts that inspired these discoveries helps explain confounding biases that inevitably accompany such discoveries. Amending early biases has added a newcomer to the collection of cell death models. Analysis of gene-dependent death in yeast revealed the surprising influence of single gene mutations on subsequent eukaryotic genome evolution. Similar events may influence the selection for mutations during early tumorigenesis. The possibility that any early random mutation might drive the selection for a cancer driver mutation is conceivable but difficult to demonstrate. This was tested in yeast, revealing that mutation of almost any gene appears to specify the selection for a new second mutation. Some human tumors contain pairs of mutant genes homologous to co-occurring mutant genes in yeast. Here we consider how yeast again provide novel insights into tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Apoptosis
  • Cancer progression
  • Evolution
  • Programmed cell death
  • Tumorigenesis
  • Yeast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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