DoctorE

Turtles all the way down

World’s oldest-known living cancer is older than creation

Posted by doctore0 on January 27, 2014

Like, ~5000 years before gawd created the universe, this cancer was there 😛

The world’s oldest-known living cancer dates back 11,000 years, according to UK scientists.

It arose in a single dog and has survived in canines ever since, with the cancer cells passing between animals when they mate.

A team led by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge decoded the DNA of the cancer.

It revealed the “genetic identikit” of an ancient husky-like dog, which first developed the disease.

The animal was of a medium size with a short, straight coat that was coloured grey-brown or black.

“We do not know why this particular individual gave rise to a transmissible cancer,” said lead researcher Dr Elizabeth Murchison.

“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.
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