Health Day - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 01/24/2014 2:00 PM | Comments: 0
FRIDAY, Jan. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists who sequenced the genome of the world's oldest cancer say their findings reveal the origin and evolution of the disease.
The transmissible genital cancer affects dogs, and it first appeared in a single dog that lived about 11,000 years ago. The cancer survived the death of that first host because the dog transferred cancer cells to other dogs during mating, according to the researchers.
The genome of this cancer -- which causes genital tumors on dogs around the world -- has about 2 million mutations. That's many more than are found in most human cancers, which typically have between 1,000 and 5,000 mutations.
"The genome of this remarkable long-lived cancer has demonstrated that, given the right conditions, cancers can continue to survive for more than 10,000 years despite the accumulation of millions of mutations," study author Dr. Elizabeth Murchison, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge in England, said in an institute news release.
The researchers also discovered that the genome of this cancer still contained genetic variants of the first dog to have the cancer. The dog likely had a short, straight coat and was either grey/brown or black. It may have resembled an Alaskan Malamute or Husky. It's not known if the dog was a male or female, but it was relatively inbred.
"We do not know why this particular individual [dog] gave rise to a transmissible cancer," Murchison said. "But it is fascinating to look back in time and reconstruct the identity of this ancient dog whose genome is still alive today in the cells of the cancer that it spawned."
According to study senior author Sir Mike Stratton, director of the Sanger Institute, "the genome of the transmissible dog cancer will help us to understand the processes that allow cancers to become transmissible."
He explained in the news release that "although transmissible cancers are very rare, we should be prepared in case such a disease emerged in humans or other animals. Furthermore, studying the evolution of this ancient cancer can help us to understand factors driving cancer evolution more generally."
The Morris Animal Foundation has more about dogs and cancer.
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Holiday Trimmings Can Trigger Allergies
Alberta reviews capital spending amid low oil
Closed-minded probe led to health firings: report
Lynparza Approved for Advanced Ovarian Cancer
Cocaine, Amphetamines May Up Injection Drug Users' Suicide Risk
New Brunswick estimates cost of new abortions
Man who died in arrest in Nova Scotia named
System Approved to Remove Germs From Blood Platelets
Could Bacteria Play a Role in Colon Cancer?
FDA Approves First in New Class of Drugs for Advanced Ovarian Cancer
Health Highlights: Dec. 19, 2014
Crohn's, Colitis May Have Genetic Underpinnings, Study Finds
Preschoolers Need Eye Screening, Experts Say
E. Coli Germs Found on Farmers Market Herbs
Cancer Treatment Costs Weigh Heavily on Patients, Study Finds
CDC Warns of Listeria Danger From Caramel Apples
Health Tip: 12 Ways to a Healthier Holiday
Health Tip: Bake a Healthier Holiday Treat
Older Cars a Bad Choice for Younger Drivers
Loss of Teeth Linked to Physical, Mental Decline in Study
E-Cigarettes Less Addictive Than Regular Cigarettes, Study Finds
Cuban cigar boom? Not yet, stores and customers say
Japan scientist quits as cell research discredited
Minnesota links caramel apples, 2 listeria deaths
Study Supports Benefit of Widely Used Glaucoma Drug
Some Blood Types Might Raise Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Study
Only third of eligible organ donors identified
Can You Balance on One Leg? You May Have Lower Stroke Risk
Many Flu Infections Aren't Good Match for Vaccine: CDC
Arriving Now at Gate 42: Measles
Xtoro Approved for Swimmer's Ear
Scratch From Pet Rat Kills Child; CDC Warns of Risk
Severe Hot Flashes During Menopause May Raise Hip Fracture Risk Later: Study
Being Fit Keeps Blood Pressure in Check
Committee created after alleged senior assault
Frail Elderly Might Benefit From High-Dose Flu Shot
'Homing Signal' in Brain Helps Humans Navigate, Research Shows
Common Painkillers May Help Prevent Certain Skin Cancers, Study Finds
Audit finds issues with pathology lab
European court rules obesity can be disability