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Division of Cancer Evolution
All cancers are caused by changes in the DNA sequence of the genomes. Therefore, it is critical to see the driver genetic alterations, which play an important role in the development and progression of cancer, to understand the pathogenesis of cancers and the identification of therapeutic targets. In past, the landscape of driver mutations was shown for most types of cancers using high-throughput sequencing and, more recently, it has been reported that normal tissues are also acquiring somatic mutations including driver mutation, which are caused by aging and environmental exposures. Our group previously identified various driver mutations in cancers including those in RNA splicing factors in myeloid malignancies (Yoshida et al., Nature. 2011). We also revealed the landscape of somatic mutations in normal bronchial cells, including smoking-related mutational signatures and driver mutations, such as TP53 mutations (Yoshida et al., Nature. 2020). Our group is studying the genetic alterations in normal tissues, precancerous lesions and cancers, through which we would like to understand the mechanisms of cancer development and progression.