The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: How long has cancer existed? Do plants get it?  (Read 4605 times)

Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Thanked: 12 times
    • View Profile
How long has cancer existed? Do plants get it?
« on: 06/11/2012 17:50:55 »
I was wondering, how long has cancer existed as a condition and also, whether organisms other than animals can get cancer?

Asked by Oscar via Twitter


                                        Visit the webpage for the podcast in which this question is answered.

 

« Last Edit: 06/11/2012 17:50:55 by _system »


 

Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Thanked: 12 times
    • View Profile
How long has cancer existed? Do plants get it?
« Reply #1 on: 06/11/2012 17:50:55 »
We answered this question on the show...

Kat -   I can answer this with my day job hat on, working for Cancer Research UK.  Cancer has pretty much always been with us and itís a disease that can affect any multicellular organ or organism because itís just caused by cells going wrong.  
So we know for example that plants can get cancer, all kinds of animals can get cancer.  Most of them donít seem to live long enough to get it, but itís a disease that has always been with us.  Thereís evidence from things like dinosaur bones and fossilised human remains, and even before that, Neanderthal remains, that cancer has always been a disease thatís affected us.  So, itís pretty much as old as you like really.
Chris -   Just to pick you up on the plants thing of course, they won't have a multisystem type problem that a person with cancer would have.  They wouldnít get spread necessarily for tumour to other bits of the plant, would they?
Kat -   No, but they get Ė if youíve ever seen a big sort of bulging gall on the plant.  Thatís basically a plant kind of tumour because something has hijacked the cells of that plant and made them grow out of control which is basically what's going on in cancer Ė either the genes have become faulty or in the case of some viruses, theyíve hijacked the cells and are making them grow.  But cells growing out of control are cancer and pretty much any complex organisms will get it.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2012 17:50:55 by _system »
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

How long has cancer existed? Do plants get it?
« Reply #1 on: 06/11/2012 17:50:55 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums