Searching for Essential Genes in the Cancer Genome

  • M. A. PyatnitskiyEmail author
  • D. S. Karpov
  • S. A. Moshkovskii


The concept of essential genes, whose loss of functionality results in cell death, is one of the fundamental concepts of genetics and is important for basic and applied research. This field is particularly promising in oncology, because using the search for genetic vulnerabilities of cancer cells it is possible to identify new potential targets for antitumor therapy. The modern biotechnology capacities are used in large-scale projects for sequencing of somatic mutations in tumors, as well as for direct action on the genetic apparatus of cancer cells. They provided accumulation of a considerable body of knowledge about genetic variants and their phenotypic manifestations in tumors. In the near future this knowledge will find application in clinical practice. This review describes the main experimental and computational approaches to the search for essential genes with special emphasis on application of these methods in molecular oncology.


cancer genome essential genes CRISPR RNA interference synthetic lethals 



This work is done in the frames of Fundamental Scientific Research Program of the Russian Academy of Sciences for 2013–2020.


Сonflict of interests. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Other statements. This article does not report any original experimental work involving animals or human participants.


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. Pyatnitskiy
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • D. S. Karpov
    • 1
    • 3
  • S. A. Moshkovskii
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Biomedical ChemistryMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Higher School of EconomicsMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  4. 4.Pirogov Russian National Research Medical UniversityMoscowRussia

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