Clonal and non-clonal chromosome aberrations and genome variation and aberration

Henry H Q Heng, Guo Liu, Steven Bremer, Karen J Ye, Joshua Stevens, Christine J Ye
Genome Génome / Conseil National de Recherches Canada 2006, 49 (3): 195-204
The theoretical view that genome aberrations rather than gene mutations cause a majority of cancers has gained increasing support from recent experimental data. Genetic aberration at the chromosome level is a key aspect of genome aberration and the systematic definition of chromosomal aberrations with their impact on genome variation and cancer genome evolution is of great importance. However, traditionally, efforts have focused on recurrent clonal chromosome aberrations (CCAs). The significance of stochastic non-clonal chromosome aberrations (NCCAs) is discussed in this paper with emphasis on the simple types of NCCAs that have until recently been considered "non-significant background". Comparison of various subtypes of transitional and late-stage CCAs with simple and complex types of NCCAs has uncovered a dynamic relationship among NCCAs, CCAs, overall genomic instability, and karyotypic evolution, as well as the stochastic nature of cancer evolution. Here, we review concepts and methodologies to measure NCCAs and discuss the possible causative mechanism and consequences of NCCAs. This study raises challenging questions regarding the concept of cancer evolution driven by stochastic chromosomal aberration mediated genome irregularities that could have repercussions reaching far beyond cancer and organismal genomes.

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