Zoe Adams L&S Sciences
Exploring the Impact of Speckled Clonal Patterning in Skin Carcinomas
It has been shown that tumors are not simply genetically homogeneous collections of cells, but rather growths of evolving, genetically diverse populations that typically arise from a single mutant cell. As this mutant cell proliferates, its daughter cells naturally pick up more mutations due to a variety of factors, creating genetic heterogeneity. More and more studies have been published analyzing the possible interactions of these varied populations, ultimately suggesting that there may be cooperation that influences tumor growth. My lab at UCSF has developed a system using a 4-color confetti cassette to trace clonal growth of carcinogen-induced skin tumors. Using this model, there has been evidence of malignant tumors with a speckled pattern, a phenomenon in which there exists a dominant clone and scattered throughout are non-clustered cells of another minor clone. My project aims to study the impact of this pattern of heterogeneity and ultimately test my hypothesis that there is indeed cooperation that assists in growth of malignant tumors.