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Most carcinomas have characteristic chromosomal aneuploidies specific to the tissue of tumor origin. The reason for this specificity is unknown. As aneuploidies directly affect gene expression, we hypothesized that cancer-type specific aneuploidies, which emerge at early stages of tumor evolution, confer adaptive advantages to the physiological requirements of the tissue of origin. To test this hypothesis, we compared chromosomal aneuploidies reported in the TCGA database to chromosome arm-wide gene expression levels of normal tissues from the GTEx database. We find that cancer-type specific chromosomal aneuploidies mirror differential gene expression levels specific to the respective normal tissues which cannot be explained by copy number alterations of resident cancer driver genes. We propose that cancer-type specific aneuploidies hard-wire chromosome arm-wide gene expression levels present in normal tissues, favoring clonal expansion and tumorigenesis.

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