The causes and consequences of polyploidy in normal development and cancer

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2011;27:585-610. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-092910-154234. Epub 2011 Jul 21.


Although nearly all mammalian species are diploid, whole-genome duplications occur in select mammalian tissues as part of normal development. Such programmed polyploidization involves changes in the regulatory pathways that normally maintain the diploid state of the mammalian genome. Unscheduled whole-genome duplications, which lead primarily to tetraploid cells, also take place in a substantial fraction of human tumors and have been proposed to constitute an important step in the development of cancer aneuploidy. The origins of these polyploidization events and their consequences for tumor progression are explored in this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aneuploidy
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • DNA Damage
  • Diploidy
  • Genome
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Morphogenesis / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Polyploidy*
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53