Genetic instability: its causes and its consequences
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Alterations within the genome, referred to as genetic instability, can occur at the whole chromosome level, i.e. whole chromosomal instability (W-CIN), as well as at the structural DNA level, i.e. genomic instability and structural chromosomal instability (S-CIN). Both types of genetic instability are frequently observed in tumor cells and are causally related to tumor formation. Until recently, it was thought that the mechanisms underlying these two types of genetic instability are distinct and occur independent of each other. However, several recent publications suggest that instability at the whole chromosome level can be a driving force of structural instability. This relationship between W-CIN and structural instability sheds new light on the mechanisms by which W-CIN can contribute to tumorigenesis.