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Russian scientists have revealed the work of evolutionarily new genes in tumors

A tumor is a pathological process, which is a newly formed tissue in which, due to genetic changes, cellular regulation and, accordingly, functionality are disturbed. Tumors are divided into benign and malignant. Benign grows slowly, does not metastasize, it can be removed without problems. A malignant neoplasm, or cancer, is one of the leading causes of death in the world.

Scientists have discovered that different classes of human genes have different evolutionary ages. Evolutionarily new genes that are particularly active in tumor cells can be used as a marker for cancer. This can serve as a serious impetus for the development of cancer diagnostics.

Scientists from the St. Petersburg Polytechnic University of Peter the Great and St. Petersburg State University have discovered evolutionarily new human genes that work in all tumors. They are called TSEEN genes (Tumor Specifically Expressed Evolutionarily Novel). “The evolutionary role of these genes is that they are genetic material for the emergence of new progressive traits. TSEEN genes are manifested in many neoplasms, therefore, they can become the best tumor markers, ”said Andrei Kozlov, head of the molecular virology and oncology research laboratory, SPbPU.

According to the theory created earlier by the authors, the number of oncogenes that stimulate the formation of a tumor in a person corresponds to the number of differentiated types of cells in the body. It was also formulated that the evolution of oncogenes, genes that suppress the growth of neoplasms (suppressor genes), and genes responsible for the differentiation of cells takes place in parallel. The theory is based on the hypothesis of evolution through the neofunctionalization of tumors. Inherited neoplasms could play an important role in the early evolution of multicellular organisms, providing additional cell masses for the origin of new types of cells, tissues and organs. These cell masses were also important for the expression of evolutionarily new genes that arise in the DNA of germ cells.

New research by the laboratory team confirmed the hypothesis mentioned above with fish tumors as an example. Evolutionary new genes also work in them, the homologues of which are also in the human genome. They participate in the development of progressive signs that fish do not have (for example, lungs, mammary glands, placenta, interventricular septum in the heart, etc.). This confirmed the hypothesis of the evolutionary role of tumors. The studies referred to in the work were carried out for several years. During this time, a wide range of bioinformatic and molecular biological methods was used.

“The developed theory predicts new ways of treating and preventing tumors. To solve the problem of cancer, it is necessary to create a new model of therapy and diagnosis in oncology. Open TSEEN genes can be used to create new oncological test systems and antitumor vaccines, ”summed up Kozlov.

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