The Tasmanian devil transcriptome reveals schwann cell origins of a clonally transmissible cancer

Elizabeth P. Murchison, Cesar Tovar, Arthur Hsu, Hannah S. Bender, Pouya Kheradpour, Clare A. Rebbeck, David Obendorf, Carly Conlan, Melanie Bahlo, Catherine A. Blizzard, Stephen Pyecroft, Alexandre Kreiss, Manolis Kellis, Alexander Stark, Timothy T. Harkins, Jennifer A. Marshall Graves, Gregory M. Woods, Gregory J. Hannon, Anthony T. Papenfuss

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    185 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The Tasmanian devil, a marsupial carnivore, is endangered because of the emergence of a transmissible cancer known as devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). This fatal cancer is clonally derived and is an allograft transmitted between devils by biting. We performed a large-scale genetic analysis of DFTD with microsatellite genotyping, a mitochondrial genome analysis, and deep sequencing of the DFTD transcriptome and microRNAs. These studies confirm that DFTD is a monophyletic clonally transmissible tumor and suggest that the disease is of Schwann cell origin. On the basis of these results, we have generated a diagnostic marker for DFTD and identify a suite of genes relevant to DFTD pathology and transmission. We provide a genomic data set for the Tasmanian devil that is applicable to cancer diagnosis, disease evolution, and conservation biology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)84-87
    Number of pages4
    JournalScience
    Volume327
    Issue number5961
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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