For God so loved the world, that he created anti-cancer genes and gave them to the elephants


Just saw this here:

And I wonder… why some animals are more adapted than others to fight certain diseases like cancer?

(Matthew Pevarnik) #2

This short video provides a simple introduction to the topic:

(Phil) #3

Great topic, enjoyed the links. Most human cancers occur after reproduction has been completed, and are in the aging population, so resistance is not selected for, and then there is really big factor of environmental carcinogens such as tobacco smoke (and cannabis) as well as asbestos etc. that elephants avoid.

(Stephen Matheson) #4

Hi all, I’m glad you are discussing this paper–it was published in our journal and we’re excited about it.

There are two very interesting aspects to the story. First, there is the identification of a gene that might explain (in part) the resistance of elephants to cancer. That alone would be worthy of discussion. But second, there is the evolutionary analysis that shows that this gene is a reanimated pseudogene–a “zombie” gene. This is, as far as we know, very rare. But think of the interesting implications for consideration of pseudogenes and other “junk” in genomes. Here is an example of a pseudogene that really is “junk” but that was “fixed” and put back to use in a major animal lineage. That’s my favorite aspect of the story, and I think that’s why Carl Zimmer wrote about it in the NY Times:

Here’s the paper at Cell Reports, open access as always:

(system) #5

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