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Title: Genome reconstruction and combinatoric analyses of rearrangement evolution
Author: Penso Dolfin, Luca
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 7639
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2016
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Cancer is often associated with a high number of large-scale, structural rearrangements. In a highly selective environment, some `driver' mutations conferring clonal growth advantage will be positively selected, accounting for further cancer development. Clarifying their nature, as well as their contribution to the pathology is a major current focus of biomedical research. Next generation sequencing technologies can be used nowadays to generate high-resolution data-sets of these alterations in cancer genomes. This project has been developed along two main lines: 1) the reconstruction of cancer aberrant karyotypes, together with their underlying evolutionary history; 2) the elucidation of some combinatorial properties associated with gene duplications. We applied graph theory to the problem of reconstructing the final cancer genome sequence; additionally, we developed an algorithmic approach for the reconstruction of a multi-step evolution consistent with read coverage and paired end data, giving insights on the possible molecular mechanisms underlying rearrangements. Looking at the combinatorics of both tandem and inverted duplication, we developed an algebraic formalism for the representation of these processes. This allowed us to both explore the geometric properties of sequences arising by Tandem Duplication (TD), and obtain a recursion for the number of tandem duplications evolutions after n events. Such results are missing for inverted duplications, whose combinatorial properties have been nevertheless deeply elucidated. Our results have allowed: 1) the identification, through an original approach, of potential rearrangement mechanisms associated with cancer development, and 2) the definition and mathematical description of the complete evolutionary space of specific rearrangement classes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available