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This article is part of the supplement: Beyond the Genome 2011

Open Access Open Badges Invited speaker presentation

A glimpse at tumor genome evolution

Elaine R Mardis

  • Correspondence: Elaine R Mardis

Author Affiliations

The Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63108, USA

Genome Biology 2011, 12(Suppl 1):I10  doi:10.1186/gb-2011-12-s1-i10

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:19 September 2011

© 2011 Mardis; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Invited speaker presentation

Next-generation DNA sequencing has dramatically affected cancer genomics efforts in several important ways. Although whole genome sequencing remains an analytical challenge, such efforts are yielding data that elucidate the myriad ways in which a genome can be influenced by single point mutations, focused insertions or deletions, and large structural alterations. In addition to cataloguing somatic alterations, various correlation analyses are indicating the genes whose alterations most profoundly determine patient outcomes, patient responses to therapeutics and other important aspects of disease biology. We have recently begun exploring how the digital nature of next-generation sequencing reads allows important information about tumor cell genomic heterogeneity to be inferred, revealing the earliest mutations and how the composition of the tumor cell mass changes over time under the influence of stressors such as chemotherapy.