Transmissible cancer and the evolution of sex

Thomas, Frédéric, Madsen, Thomas, Giraudeau, Mathieu, Misse, Dorothée, Hamede, Rodrigo, Vincze, Orsolya, Renaud, François, Roche, Benjamin and Ujvari, Beata 2019, Transmissible cancer and the evolution of sex, PLoS biology, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 1-9, doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000275.

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Title Transmissible cancer and the evolution of sex
Author(s) Thomas, Frédéric
Madsen, Thomas
Giraudeau, Mathieu
Misse, Dorothée
Hamede, Rodrigo
Vincze, Orsolya
Renaud, François
Roche, Benjamin
Ujvari, BeataORCID iD for Ujvari, Beata
Journal name PLoS biology
Volume number 17
Issue number 6
Article ID e3000275
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2019-06-06
ISSN 1545-7885
Keyword(s) Transmissible cancer
Sexual reproduction
Parasite evolution
Evolutionary immunology
Organismal evolution
Evolutionary biology
Asexual reproduction
Neoplastic transformation
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Summary The origin and subsequent maintenance of sex and recombination are among the most elusive and controversial problems in evolutionary biology. Here, we propose a novel hypothesis, suggesting that sexual reproduction not only evolved to reduce the negative effects of the accumulation of deleterious mutations and processes associated with pathogen and/or parasite resistance but also to prevent invasion by transmissible selfish neoplastic cheater cells, henceforth referred to as transmissible cancer cells. Sexual reproduction permits systematic change of the multicellular organism's genotype and hence an enhanced detection of transmissible cancer cells by immune system. Given the omnipresence of oncogenic processes in multicellular organisms, together with the fact that transmissible cancer cells can have dramatic effects on their host fitness, our scenario suggests that the benefits of sex and concomitant recombination will be large and permanent, explaining why sexual reproduction is, despite its costs, the dominant mode of reproduction among eukaryotes.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000275
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 06 Biological Sciences
11 Medical and Health Sciences
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2019, Thomas et al.
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