Seed Grant in Cancer and Evolution
Organizers: Corbin Jones, UNC-Chapel Hill, Peter Waddell, Ronin Institute, Matt Kanke, UNC-Chapel Hill, Jeremy Wang, UNC-Chapel Hill, Kim Creek, USC, Lucia Perisi, USC. Cancer is a heterogeneous or widely divergent collection of diseases with a similarly wide variety of outcomes, natural histories and responses to therapy. While new medical and genomic data have shed light on the molecular mechanisms causing cancer, why cancer should occur is the first place remains unclear. Equally perplexing is why some organisms or individuals seem more or less likely to get cancer. This project uses the unique biology of deer mice (Peromyscus) species to identify the genes contributing to longevity and cancer resistance in P. leucopus, the white-foot dear mouse. Since the 1950s its been known that P. leucopus is very long lived for such a small rodent and has a similarly low rate of cancer compared to common or laboratory mice. Our project will use comparative genomic comparisons between P. leucopus and its close relatives to discover the extraordinary ways these animals have “invented” to reduce cancer.