Clonal selection parallels between normal and cancer tissues

Image credit: Adrian Salavaty


Clonal selection and drift drive both normal tissue and cancer development. However, the biological mechanisms and environmental conditions underpinning these processes remain to be elucidated. Clonal selection models are centered in Darwinian evolutionary theory, where some clones with the fittest features are selected and populate the tissue or tumor. We suggest that different subclasses of stem cells, each of which is responsible for a distinct feature of the selection process, share common features between normal and cancer conditions. While active stem cells populate the tissue, dormant cells account for tissue replenishment/regeneration in both normal and cancerous tissues. We also discuss potential mechanisms that drive clonal drift, their interactions with clonal selection, and their similarities during normal and cancer tissue development.

Key words

clonal selection; clonal drift; cancer evolution; tissue development; tissue regeneration; stem cells

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