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The Breuss Lab

Laboratory of Genomic and Cellular Mosaicism


Yang*, Breuss*, et al., Cell 2021

What is clonal mosaicism? 

Every cell in a body contains the same genetic code. Over its lifetime, each cell acquires its own unique and distinguishing set of somatic mutations. This phenomenon is genomic mosaicism. We refer to this as "clonal mosaicism" if the cell proliferates, passing this set of mutations on to its daughter cells. 

Why is clonal mosaicism interesting? 

1) If mosaic mutations are present in gonadal progenitors (cells that become sperm or eggs), they can be transmitted across generations and may cause congenital disease. Thus, understanding clonal mosaicism can be critical for determining recurrence or transmission risk in cases of sporadic monogenic disorders. 

2) The analyses of shared and unique mosaicism enables retroactive lineage tracing across tissues and cellular populations opening a unique window into the mutational processes occurring in early human development. 

sperm mutation lineage.jpg

Breuss*, Yang* & Gleeson, Trends in Genetics 2021

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