Population genetics of neutral mutations in exponentially growing cancer cell populations

Population genetics of neutral mutations in exponentially growing cancer cell populations
Rick Durrett
(Submitted on 12 Feb 2013)

In order to analyze data from cancer genome sequencing projects, we need to be able to distinguish causative, or “driver,” mutations from “passenger” mutations that have no selective effect. Toward this end, we prove results concerning the frequency of neutural mutations in exponentially growing multitype branching processes that have been widely used in cancer modeling. Our results yield a simple new population genetics result for the site frequency spectrum of a sample from an exponentially growing population.

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