Created by: Alex Cagan
Issue 245: Somatic mutations drive cancer and may play a role in ageing. Across the tree of life there is great diversity in cancer risk and the speed at which species age, yet we know very little about somatic mutational processes in non-human species. This illustration highlights the 16 species of mammals that we studied to compare their somatic mutation rates and signatures. The pointillist style was chosen to echo the process of somatic mutation and clonal expansion that is presumably occurring within the tissues of all mammals as they age but which has hitherto been invisible to us. The double-helix hourglass references the accumulation of mutations over time and speculates on the potential relationship between genome integrity and ageing.