Least human organism susceptible to cancer?

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Quizatzhaderac
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Least human organism susceptible to cancer?

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:14 pm UTC

What organism most distantly related to human is capable of getting cancer? Or conversely, what is the creature that is most closely related to humans that can get cancer?

There's specifically a myth that sharks don't get cancer, and a such someone has bothered to document sharks with cancer.So let's assume vertebrates generally are susceptible.

What about echinoderms?

Arthropods? Most don't live all that long, but some do (like lobsters).

The immortal jellyfish?

Sponges? Could you actually tell?

Fungi?
Last edited by gmalivuk on Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:18 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: fixed terrible spelling
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LaserGuy
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Re: Least human organism sucetable to cancer?

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:22 pm UTC

According to this report, tumors or tumor-like diseases have been found in such species as coral, roundworms, mollusks, insects, etc. So... it looks like basically everything.

p1t1o
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Re: Least human organism sucetable to cancer?

Postby p1t1o » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:12 am UTC

Heck even trees and plants get it.
**
Here's a thought - what is the difference between a replicating single-celled organism and a single celled organism with cancer?

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Eebster the Great
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Re: Least human organism sucetable to cancer?

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:11 am UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:What organism most distantly related to human is capable of getting cancer? Or conversely, what is the creature that is most closely related to humans that can't get cancer?

Is this what you meant?

There's specifically a myth that sharks don't get cancer, and a such someone has bothered to document sharks with cancer.So let's assume vertebrates generally are susceptible.

What about [other opisthokonts]?

You didn't ask about plants, so you seem to realize they can't get cancer (essentially because their cells aren't mobile), but they do get tumors. Fungi also can't get cancer, but for a different reason. Fungi have a single-cell stage during which cancer isn't even a coherent idea, and a multi-cell stage during most of which time cells don't even divide. If cells don't stop dividing, you don't get cancer exactly, you just fail to get a fruit.

I don't think cancer is possible in any other kingdoms. Among animals though, it should be essentially universal. It has been documented in vertebrates, crustaceans, insects, mollusks, and roundworms at least, but probably in loads of other animals, I just didn't do much research. Small animals and short-lived animals are extremely unlikely to get cancer for obvious reasons, but because they are so studied and reproduce so quickly, it has still been observed on rare occasions in some model animals like D. melanogaster and C. elegans.

It gets murkier for very simple organisms. I can't find evidence of actual malignant tumors in ctenophores or cnidarians, but I don't see why they would be evolutionarily impossible. There is at least one whimsical paper suggesting genes in ctenophores homologous with oncogenes in Homo. Some of these animals are biologically immortal though, so maybe they do have some perfect cancer immunity.

I don't know about sponges though, because I just generally don't know anything about sponges.

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Soupspoon
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Re: Least human organism sucetable to cancer?

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:28 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:There is at least one whimsical paper suggesting genes in ctenophores homologous with oncogenes in Homo. Some of these animals are biologically immortal though, so maybe they do have some perfect cancer immunity.

Alternately, it's "perfect cancer" that provides proper death immunity, what we¹ get is the potential for immortality (one way or another) but never in a 'good' way.


(The other kingdoms' different approaches to cells and cell division/tasking go hand in hand with how they inhabit their niche. Reproduction by cladaptosis, rhizomic fragmentation and the like is a very good plant strategy that would be ill-fitted to animals of any complexity, and nightmare fuel in many situations. And I'm sure if the users of this forum were somehow of the plant clade, or other alternative, they'd be wondering about a different health issue and talking about how animals have this different setup that made them not susceptible. ;) )


¹ The rest of the animal kingdom, that is. There's nothing special about humans other than perhaps the post-reproduction longevity that doesn't really enable natural selection against any post-prime and gerontic disease incidence. Those which don't normally apply to creatures only because they tend to be killed or die from other macro threats before their own cells go so noticeably rogue. Tasmanian Devils being a noted exception, but mostly for being such a rare exception, and in a transmissable manner too. Pets and other animals under our care are similarly coddled beyond a 'natural lifespan in the wild' so are subject to similar issues.

Post-menopausal grandmotherin in humans/orca/etc (or the perhaps the potential loss of it) will give microbenefits to the continued development of healthy superannuation, so may have promoted gene-variations that suppresses the more suicidal packages of genes just a little bit, though medical developments and more generalised societal welfare mitigate the immediate selection pressures so perhaps we're still only as susceptible as if we just hadn't died of environmental factors. Perhaps once we can reliably get in there and use our knowledge to manipulate our genomes sufficiently well to act upon the causal elements (rather than merely patch up problems that arise and are discovered in time) then perhaps our artificial selection will make it a fait accompli. Apart from every other threat to our immortality.


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