Cancer has been widely associated with humans and some pets. What most people aren’t aware of is the fact that a leukemia-like disease is spreading throughout the sea. Several different species of cockles, clams and muscles are suffering in our earth’s oceans.
It’s hard to believe that our beloved sea creatures are susceptible to the same heinous diseases that we are. It’s hard enough to watch humans deal with cancer. It is now affecting our seas. Jumping to conclusions is easy, we can look to pollution and global warming for our anger, but it actually is just an evolutionary step. Some scientists even believe that the cells may have originated in the water itself. It’s not often that something just develops out of thin air right?
According to a new nature study, the disease has been transmitted through different species in the marine ecosystems across the world. Cancer is widely known as a genetic mutation, and that fact is no different in the sea life and cases surrounding it. The specific cases of cancer among sea creatures are known as “disseminated neoplasia.”
Cancer cells have been known to metastasize and multiply with great speed. This is why it has proved to be one of the most vicious diseases on the planet. It kills thousands of people per year, and moreover it has proved to be widely preventable.
In the case of the sea animals, this cancer appears to be transmissible. That means that it can travel from animal to animal with contact. It’s a terrifying notion to the thousands of sea creatures that inhabit the world’s lakes and oceans.
There have only been two documented cases of this transmissible type of cancer. Some venerable tumors in dogs can be transmitted inter-specially. The other type is the Tasmanian devil facial tumor disease.
As researchers studied soft-shell clams they found that cancerous cells can be passed from one clam to another. It’s difficult to understand where the disease originated if it has been transmitted multiple times through different channels.
Researchers are currently working on how cancers can be caused by independent cells. Bivalves are at the heart of this discussion. Scientists led by Stephen Goff of Columbia University have been collecting mussels, clams and cockles. The focus is on British Columbia, Canada and the Galician Coast of Spain. The team has screened these animals for the cancerous cells. They’ve taken samples and blood like vital fluids from them as well. Generic analyses of the hosts and cancer tissues have led to some shocking discoveries.
They found that the cancer is spreading among individuals in the same species while its being passed through different shellfish. This kind of notion is terrifying. Could it eventually be applied to humans?
Cancer cells and direct contact caused neoplasia in all of the species. Contagious cells looked like they were morphing to fit and mess up other species’ cell DNA.
The exact origin of these diseases is unknown. Although, it’s possible that humans have introduced some pretty heinous things into the eco system, it’s unlikely that they are responsible. The biggest conclusion? The cells are merely floating in the sea water.
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