Evolutionary Processes Modeling
Cancer is a genetic disease, and as such allows us to learn something about the malignant transformation of previously healthy cells by analyzing tumor DNA sequences. The frequency of the mutations present in the DNA of tumor cell populations can be described using the framework of population genetics. This way, we aim to identify the somatic mutations that took place during tumorigenesis, elucidate how and why they happened, and quantify their impact on tumor growth.
DNA sequencing data from human populations provide insights into the evolutionary dynamics governing our species. By analyzing mutations which currently segregate in the population, we can infer mutational spectra and the distribution of fitness effects of individual mutations. Ultimately, this allows us to prioritize genes according to their relevance for health and disease.