How Whales And Dolphins Resist Cancer

How Whales And Dolphins Resist Cancer?

Whales, dolphins, and porpoises resist cancer, unlike humans. Currently, we might be very much nearer to knowing how cetaceans achieve this resistance.

Usually, the most long-lived mammals are cetaceans, and few species of whales live up to 200 years. How this is feasible is a big secret as they have a huge body size implying that they have far more cells than humans.

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Daniela Tejada-Martinez, Austral University of Chile, stated that if we have more cells, that indicates that the risk that one of those cells turns into cancer cells raises by many folds. Hence, if you have a huge size or live longer, you have millions of cells that could be harmful.

But, the cancer rate in cetaceans is much lower than the majority of other mammals, including human beings – this is referred to as Peto’s paradox.

Vincent Lynch, University at Buffalo, New York, stated that there is a pun that whales must be born with cancer and not even able to survive due to the fact that they are too huge. There is a straightforward answer for exactly how whales survive. Their evolution process for cancer protection mechanisms was far better.

Yet, we still need to understand a lot more about why and how whales did this.

Currently, the evolution of 1077 tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) has been researched by Tejada-Martinez and her associates. The team took 15 mammalian species (including 7 cetacean species), and the evolution of the genes was contrasted as part of their study.

Genes regulating body immune system, tumor spread, and DNA damages were positively chosen among the cetaceans. Additionally, the group discovered that cetaceans gained and lost tumor suppressor genes at a rate 2.4 times more compared to other mammals.

Lynch stated that it is not like they will be taking whale genes and placing them into humans and making humans resistant to cancer. Yet, if we can ascertain the genes that play a function in tumor suppression in other animals, and if we could determine their mechanism, maybe we can develop a medicine that resembles that for treating humans.


How Whales And Dolphins Resist Cancer?

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