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Created by: Joon-Hyun Song, Mehdi Damaghi (@mehdiDamaghi)

Issue 269: Cytidine deaminases such as AID and APOBECs can inadvertently increase the heterogeneity of viral genomes while fulfilling their roles in mutating defective viral genomes. Decades of research on mutational signatures in cancer have unveiled a significant number of mutations induced by APOBEC activity. This prompts questions about the role of APOBEC in cancer evolution. Does APOBEC aid or hinder the evolution of cancer? How does the human genome itself respond to potential damage caused by APOBEC-induced mutations? Our research suggests that APOBEC may evolve to produce mutation motifs that are less harmful to our genome. Furthermore, our clonal expansion simulations indicate that APOBEC activity might ultimately increase the heterogeneity of the cancer population. Read the pre-print here.