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Genetics. 2008 Jun;179(2):737-46. doi: 10.1534/genetics.108.090878.

Aneuploidy: cells losing their balance.

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  • 1David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.


A change in chromosome number that is not the exact multiple of the haploid karyotype is known as aneuploidy. This condition interferes with growth and development of an organism and is a common characteristic of solid tumors. Here, we review the history of studies on aneuploidy and summarize some of its major characteristics. We will then discuss the molecular basis for the defects caused by aneuploidy and end with speculations as to whether and how aneuploidy, despite its deleterious effects on organismal and cellular fitness, contributes to tumorigenesis.

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