Evolution by Tumor Neofunctionalization - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128001653, 9780128004982

Evolution by Tumor Neofunctionalization

1st Edition

The Role of Tumors in the Origin of New Cell Types, Tissues and Organs

Authors: Andrei Kozlov
eBook ISBN: 9780128004982
Paperback ISBN: 9780128001653
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 24th February 2014
Page Count: 248
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Evolution by Tumor Neofunctionalization explores the possibility of the positive role of tumors in evolution of multicellular organisms. This unique perspective goes beyond recent publications on how evolution may influence tumors, to consider the possible role of tumors in evolution.

Widespread in nature tumors represent a much broader category than malignant tumors only. The majority of tumors in humans and other animals may never undergo malignant transformation. Tumors may differentiate with the loss of malignancy, and malignant tumors may spontaneously regress. Cellular oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes play roles in normal development. Many features of tumors could be used in evolution, and there are examples of tumors that have played a role in evolution.

This book will stimulate thinking on this topic by specialists in the fields of evolutionary biology, oncology, molecular biology, molecular evolution, embryology, evo-devo, tumor immunology, pathology and clinical oncology.

Key Features

  • Covers the role that tumors might play in evolution.
  • Provides multidisciplinary approach that will appeal to a wide circle of professionals in the fields of evolutionary biology, oncology, molecular biology, and more


biologists, medical students and doctors, specializing in the fields of evolutionary biology, oncology, molecular biology, molecular evolution, embryology, evo-devo, tumor immunology, pathology and clinical oncology.

Table of Contents




Chapter 1. The Modern Synthesis of Evolutionary Biology and the Health Sciences

Chapter 2. Evolution and Pathology

2.1 Pathogens and Pathologies May Have Adaptive and/or Evolutionary Importance

2.2 Evolution vs. Pathology Paradox of Mutations

Chapter 3. The Widespread Occurrence of Tumors in Multicellular Organisms

3.1 Comparative Oncological Data on the Prevalence of Tumors in Different Groups of Multicellular Organisms

3.2 Ancient Origin and Conservatism of Cellular Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes

3.3 The Widespread Occurrence of Tumors Suggests that they May Be Evolutionarily Meaningful

Chapter 4. Features of Tumors that Could Be Used in Evolution

4.1 Unusual Genes and Gene Sets are Activated in Tumors and May Participate in the Origin of New Cell Types

4.2 Tumor Cells Can Differentiate with the Loss of Malignancy that May Lead to the Origin of New Cell Types

4.3 Tumors Provide Excessive Cell Masses Functionally Unnecessary to the Organism that Could be Used for the Origin of New Cell Types, Tissues and Organs

4.4 Tumors as Atypical Organs/Tissues that May Eventually Evolve into Normal Structures

Chapter 5. Tumors Might Participate in the Evolution of Ontogenesis

5.1 Tumors and Normal Embryogenesis

5.2 Tumors as Disease of Differentiation

5.3 The Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) Occurs in Normal and Neoplastic Development

5.4 Tumors, Evo-Devo and Addition of Final Stages in the Evolution of Ontogenesis

5.5 The Human Brain, as the Most Recently Evolved Organ, Recapitulates Many Features Resembling those of Tumors

5.6 The Eutherian Placenta is Evolutionary Innovation and Recapitulates Many Tumor Features

Chapter 6. Tumors that Might Play a Role in Evolution

6.1 Hereditary Tumors

6.2 Fetal, Neonatal and Infantile Tumors

6.3 Benign Tumors, Carcinomas in situ and Pseudodiseases

6.4 Tumors at the Early and Intermediate Stages of Progression

6.5 Tumors that Spontaneously Regress

6.6 Sustainable Tumor Masses

Chapter 7. Tumors that have Played a Role in Evolution

7.1 The Nitrogen-Fixing Root Nodules of Legumes

7.2 Melanomatous Cells and Macromelanophores of Xiphophorus Fishes

7.3 The Hood of Goldfishes, an Artificially Selected Benign Tumor

7.4 Malignant Papillomatosis and Symbiovilli in the Stomachs of Voles

7.5 Eutherian Placenta, the Regulated Tumor

7.6 The “Evolution vs. Pathology Paradox” may also Exist for Tumors

Chapter 8. The General Principles and Molecular Mechanisms of the Origin of Novel Genes

8.1 Gene Duplication

8.2 Exon Shuffling

8.3 De novo Gene Origin

8.4 The Role of Transposons in Gene Origin

8.5 The Origin of Multigene Families

8.6 The Origin of Noncoding RNA Genes

8.7 The Origin of New Genes is a Widespread and Ongoing Process

Chapter 9. The Origin of Evolutionarily Novel Genes and Evolution of New Functions and Structural Complexity in Multicellular Organisms

9.1 New and Altered Functions of Novel Genes

9.2 Novel Genes and the Emergence of Evolutionary Innovations and Morphological Novelties in Multicellular Organisms

Chapter 10. The Origin of New Cell Types, Tissues and Organs by Tumor Neofunctionalization

10.1 The Hypothesis of Evolution by Tumor Neofunctionalization

10.2 Gene Competition and the Possible Evolutionary Role of Tumors

10.3 The Possible Evolutionary Role of Cellular Oncogenes

10.4 The Origin of Feedback Loops Regulating New Functions, New Gene Expression and New Cell Type Proliferation

10.5 How is the New Cell Type Inherited in Progeny Generations?

10.6 Tumor-Bearing Organisms as Evolutionary Transitional Forms

10.7 The Theory of “Frozen Accident” May be Applied to the Origin of New Cell Types/Tissues/Organs

10.8 Providing Expression of Newly Evolving Genes, Tumors also Facilitate the Origin of Novel Organismal Gene Functions

10.9 Tumors and the Early Evolution of Metazoa

10.10 The Need for a Continuous Supply of Extra Cell Masses in Evolution

10.11 Nonadaptive Origins of Organismal Complexity

10.12 Tumors or Complexity First?

10.13 Tumors as the Search Engine for Innovations and Novel Molecular Combinations

Chapter 11. Experimental Confirmation of Nontrivial Predictions of Evolution by the Tumor Neofunctionalization Hypothesis

11.1 Evolutionarily Young and Novel Genes are Expressed in Tumors

11.2 Artificially Selected Tumors

Chapter 12. Other Evidence Supporting the Positive Evolutionary Role of Tumors and the Hypothesis of Evolution by Tumor Neofunctionalization

12.1 Positive Selection of Many Tumor-Related Genes in Primate Lineage

12.2 More Evolutionarily Novel Genes Expressed in Tumors

12.3 Expression of Many Evolutionarily Novel Genes in the Placenta, a Tumor-Like Organ

12.4 Anti-Cancer Selection May Be Connected with Developmental and Evolutionary Constraints

Chapter 13. Overview

Chapter 14. Conclusion




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© Academic Press 2014
Academic Press
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About the Author

Andrei Kozlov

Affiliations and Expertise

Biomedical Center, St. Petersburg, Russia


"...an excellent book that formulates the hypothesis of evolution by tumor neofunctionalization and presents interesting concepts related to the positive role of tumors in the evolution of multicellular organisms. It will be of immense interest to a diverse group of professionals...3 Stars - Score: 86" -Doody's.com, Nov 14, 2014

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