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Club EvMed: The mechanisms behind Peto's paradox

  • 9 Jun 2022
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Zoom; meeting link to be shared upon registration

The mechanisms behind Peto’s paradox: why cancer risk doesn’t scale with lifespan

Thursday, June 9th at 12pm EDT/18:00 CEST

pictures of Orsolya Vincze, Mathieu Giraudeau, and Alex Cagan

Join us for a conversation with Orsolya Vincze, research fellow at the Centre for Ecological Research, Hungary, Mathieu Giraudeau, researcher at Littoral, Environnement et Sociétés (LIENSs) at CNRS-La Rochelle Université, and Alex Cagan, staff scientist in the Dept. for Cancer, Ageing and Somatic Mutation at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

The DNA in the cells in our body accumulate mutations as we age, and these mutations are known to cause cancer and may contribute to the ageing process. Many people associate cancer with human pathologies, but it is now clear that this disease can develop in all multicellular organisms, although their prevalence varies considerably between species. Nevertheless, we know very little about how these processes operate across species, the extent to which various vertebrate animals are susceptible to cancer, and what species traits influence cancer susceptibility. Vincze and Giraudeau will discuss the results of their recent analyses, that reveal key evolutionary trajectories of cancer risk across the mammalian phylogeny. They show major differences in cancer predisposition among mammalian orders and strong associations of cancer vulnerability with diet. Cagan will then present his research, which studied age related mutational processes in 16 mammalian species with diverse lifespans and body-sizes to understand more about the role of mutation in cancer and ageing. These studies provide a thorough assessment of one of the biggest mysteries in cancer biology, namely Peto’s paradox, and illustrate the key role of life-history evolution in shaping cancer resistance.

Attendees are encouraged to read Vincze et al. 2022, “Cancer risk across mammals” and Cagan et al. 2022, “Somatic mutation rates scale with lifespan across mammals.” Attendees may also be interested in the Gorelick and Naxerova 2022 Nature News and Views article, “Mutational clocks tick differently across species.” Sign up here for the meeting link.

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