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dimecres, 29 de juny de 2016

Descubren el primer cáncer contagioso que puede saltar entre las especies

Se estudiaron colonias enfermas de mejillones de cerca de Vancouver y berberechos y almejas de la costa de España

THE WASHINGTON POST.- The first contagious cancer was discovered in the 1990s, when researchers studying Tasmanian devils noticed that the fierce marsupials were perishing from ugly facial tumors. Eventually, they identified two cancer cell lines that were causing the disease. Meanwhile, scientists working with dogs found that canines on every continent have been suffering from a sexually transmitted tumor for hundreds of years.

Goff and his colleagues found a third example of this phenomenon last year in soft shell clams living along the Atlantic coast. A colleague working at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass., asked him to come take a look at her dying clams, which she thought were suffering from a virus. Instead, they were being killed by a form of bivalve leukemia.

"It was really wild," Goff told The Washington Post at the time. "It was not what we were expecting."

Cockles (Cerastoderma edule) collected in Galicia, Spain. They are one of three new species that suffer from contagious cancer. (David Iglesias via Nature) But the discovery got him wondering whether transmissible cancers might be more common than anyone realized. So he set about collecting specimens from sick bivalve colonies on opposite sides of the world: mussels from near Vancouver and cockles and golden carpet shell clams on the coast of Spain. All three species were dying from cancer, he found. And all three of the cancers were genetically different from their hosts (the cockles suffered from two distinct strains).
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