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Journal Article

Multiple mutant clones in blood rarely coexist


Traulsen,  Arne
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;
Research Group Evolutionary Theory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Dingli, D., Pacheco, J. M., & Traulsen, A. (2008). Multiple mutant clones in blood rarely coexist. Physical Review E, 77(2): 021915. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.77.021915.

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Leukemias arise due to mutations in the genome of hematopoietic (blood) cells. Hematopoiesis has a multicompartment architecture, with cells exhibiting different rates of replication and differentiation. At the root of this process, one finds a small number of stem cells, and hence the description of the mutation-selection dynamics of blood cells calls for a stochastic approach. We use stochastic dynamics to investigate to which extent acquired hematopoietic disorders are associated with mutations of single or multiple genes within developing blood cells. Our analysis considers the appearance of mutations both in the stem cell compartment as well as in more committed compartments. We conclude that in the absence of genomic instability, acquired hematopoietic disorders due to mutations in multiple genes are most likely very rare events, as multiple mutations typically require much longer development times compared to those associated with a single mutation.