Morbid Immortality – source of Tasmanian Devil cancer found: replicating cancer cells

Our devils of today

Scary. They’ve discovered that what has been killing off the Tasmanian Devils for the past few years are really replicating cancer cells from a devil twenty years dead, and not a transmitted virus as originally thought. That sounds really zombie like. A sort of morbid immortality for that one devil.

In a study of twenty five tumors pulled from the animals, it was discovered that they were all genetically identical.  This indicates that they all came from the same source, the same devil, estimated to have lived about twenty years ago.  The disease is apparently spread by the direct exchange of cancerous cells through physical contact between the devils.  Previously, I had read that this contact was usually due to combat between the animals.

Seventy percent of the devil population has already been wiped out, and it’s expected that they will go extinct in the wild in thirty to fifty years time.  If a cure isn’t found during the current interim, you’ll one day only be able to see them in zoos, and in Warner Brother cartoons.

Here’s a link to the actual story that documents these discoveries:

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/52286/title/Cancer_plaguing_Tasmanian_devils_began_in_one_animals_nerve_cells

(Ok, I realize this has virtually nothing to do with Japan, Manga, or Anime, other than through some weird ass Kevin Bacon connection along the lines of American Cartoons -> Japanese Animation, but I found it be an interesting update on a story I’ve been following for years. Replicating zombie cells? Freaky!) (plus my normal blog is busted)

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