Modern day dogs still carry cancers of 11,000-year old ancestors
A new study has revealed the origin and evolution of the world's oldest continuously surviving cancer that affects dogs.
Sequencing the genome of the transmissible genital cancer has traced its origin to a single dog that lived about 11,000 years ago and it survived after the death of this dog by the transfer of its cancer cells to other dogs during mating.
The study has also shown that the cancer, which causes grotesque genital tumours in dogs, carries about two million mutations, which are many more mutations than are found in most human cancers.
Dr Elizabeth Murchison said that 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.
The study has also suggested that the dog may have resembled an Alaskan Malamute or Husky and most probably had a short, straight coat that was colored either grey/brown or black, however, its gender is not known.
The genome sequence has helped scientists to further understand how this disease has spread.
(Posted on 25-01-2014)