We all need our rest but our bodies never truly get a break. Every day billions of new cells are made. Each cell division risks mutation of our DNA. If these mutations aren't repaired, a cell can start dividing uncontrollably and form a tumour. Track the origins of any solid tumour and you’ll find one rogue cell that started it all … or so researchers thought. Growing evidence suggests a tumour can arise from several different rogue cells expanding their numbers. Probing this in mice, researchers introduced three genetic components to label their cells red or green before tumour growth was instigated. Half of the tumours examined using fluorescence microscopy contained both red and green cells, proving they originated from at least two different mutant cells. Further analysis uncovered genetic changes unique to each set of cells. This technique will allow deeper investigations into what makes these patchwork tumours thrive.
Written by Lux Fatimathas
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.