Dog cancer dates back 11,000 years - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Dog cancer dates back 11,000 years

Updated: Jan 25, 2014 09:03 AM
© iStockphoto.com / Leigh Schindle © iStockphoto.com / Leigh Schindle

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."

More information

The Morris Animal Foundation has more about dogs and cancer.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Ocean crash kills teen pilot seeking world record

    Ocean crash kills teen pilot seeking world record

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:03:01 GMT
    A family spokeswoman says an Indiana teenager was killed when his plane crashed while trying to set a record for an around-the-world flight.More >>
    His pilot's license fresh in his hands, an Indiana teenager set out in June for the adventure of a lifetime: an around-the-world flight with his father designed to break a record and raise money to build schools in his...More >>
  • Ohio veteran cited for ducks hopes for law change

    Ohio veteran cited for ducks hopes for law change

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:56 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:56:55 GMT
    COSHOCTON, Ohio (AP) - An Army veteran who says his pet ducks help relieve his post-traumatic stress disorder is now hoping for a change in the Ohio village law that prohibits him from keeping the animals in his backyard. Darin Welker, who served in the Army National Guard, was cited for violating a ban on keeping farm animals in West Lafayette. The village is about 80 miles east of Columbus. Welker and his attorney said Wednesday that village officials are considering the possibility of a n...More >>
    COSHOCTON, Ohio (AP) - An Army veteran who says his pet ducks help relieve his post-traumatic stress disorder is now hoping for a change in the Ohio village law that prohibits him from keeping the animals in his backyard. Darin Welker, who served in the Army National Guard, was cited for violating a ban on keeping farm animals in West Lafayette. The village is about 80 miles east of Columbus. Welker and his attorney said Wednesday that village officials are considering the possibility of a n...More >>
  • More than 500 migrant children sent to Pa.

    More than 500 migrant children sent to Pa.

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:31 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:31:15 GMT
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - More than 500 migrant children are being housed in Pennsylvania as federal officials wrestle with a national crisis created by a flood of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors across the southern U.S. border. State officials confirmed Wednesday that the federal government told them 120 children are in two temporary centers in Bethlehem and Womelsdorf, near Reading. Kait Gillis of the state Department of Public Welfare says the other 386 youngsters are staying with ...More >>
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - More than 500 migrant children are being housed in Pennsylvania as federal officials wrestle with a national crisis created by a flood of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors across the southern U.S. border. State officials confirmed Wednesday that the federal government told them 120 children are in two temporary centers in Bethlehem and Womelsdorf, near Reading. Kait Gillis of the state Department of Public Welfare says the other 386 youngsters are staying with ...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms