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An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge


Andrea is interested in the genome diversity and evolution of canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT) around the world. CTVT is one of only two known naturally occurring clonally transmissible cancers, and the disease is spread between individual dogs by the allogeneic transfer of living cancer cells during coitus. Even though CTVT originated in a dog that lived around 11,000 years ago, the cancer managed to survive beyond the death of its original host and is now widely present as a parasitic life form in the dog population worldwide.

The CTVT project, which Andrea is involved in, is aiming to understand how CTVT has emerged and spread through the population, through mapping the genetic and phenotypic diversity of CTVT tumours from different parts of the world.

Before starting her PhD work in the Transmissible Cancer Group, Andrea completed an undergraduate degree in Veterinary Science at the University of Cambridge. Her final year project focused on mapping the worldwide distribution and prevalence of CTVT, and she is still interested in reports of CTVT from around the world.

A video describing Andrea's most recent work is below:

Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumour: The contagious cancer that conquered the world


Key publications: 

Strakova A, Ni Leathlobhair M, Wang G-D, Yin T-T, Airikkala-Otter I, Allen JL, Allum KM, Bansse-Issa L, Bisson JL, Castillo Domracheva A,  de Castro KF, Corrigan AM, Cran HR, Crawford JT, Cutter SM, Delgadillo Keenan L, Donelan EM, Faramade IA, Flores Reynoso E, Fotopoulou E, Fruean SN, Gallardo-Arrieta F, Glebova O, Häfelin Manrique RF, Henriques JJGP, Ignatenko N, Koenig D, Lanza-Perea M, Lobetti R, Lopez Quintana AM, Losfelt T, Marino G, Martincorena I, Martínez Castañeda S, Martínez-López MF, Meyer M, Nakanwagi B, De Nardi AB, Neunzig W, Nixon SJ, Onsare MM, Ortega-Pacheco A, Peleteiro MC, Pye RJ, Reece JF, Rojas Gutierrez J, Sadia H, Schmeling SK, Shamanova O, Ssuna RK, Steenland-Smit AE, Svitich A, Thoya Ngoka I, Vițălaru BA, de Vos AP, de Vos JP, Walkinton O, Wedge DC, Wehrle-Martinez AS, van der Wel MG, Widdowson SAE and Murchison EP 2015 Mitochondrial genetic diversity, selection and recombination in a canine transmissible cancer. eLife. (2016); DOI: 10.7554/eLife.14552

Castro FK, Strakova A, Tinucci Costa M, Murchison EP. Evaluation of a genetic assay for canine transmissible venereal tumour diagnosis in Brazil. Vet Comp Oncol. (2016) DOI: 10.1111/vco.12205

Strakova A and Murchison EP. The cancer which survived: Insights from the genome of an 11,000 year-old cancer Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 30, 49-55 (2015)

Strakova A and Murchison EP. The changing global distribution and prevalence of canine transmissible venereal tumour. BMC Vet Res. 10, 168 (2014). PDF

PhD student leading the canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT) project
 Andrea   Strakova
Not available for consultancy


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Departments and institutes: 
Person keywords: 
Veterinary Science
Pathogen Evolution