Do aggressive cancers pile up extra chromosomes as genomic ackup systems?
Living things are resourceful, which is a comforting thought unless the living thing in question is a pathogen or a cancer cell. Noxious cells excel at developing drug resistance, outwitting immune systems, and evading cellular controls. They even show an unhealthy talent for surviving internal perturbations such as mutations that affect the function of vital genes, and they do this by evolving new mechanisms to perform old tasks. Somehow the bad guys find a workaround. That observation led Norman Pavelka, Giulia Rancati, and Rong Li, researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, MO, to step back and consider the basic process by which cells adapt to the loss of seemingly irreplaceable genes. The researchers reasoned that understanding how cells adapt to internal perturbations could offer insight into how pathogens and cancer cells mutate to evade the bodys defenses and resist treatment with drugs. The Stowers researchers used the benign budding yeast Saccha