Apparently, elephants are really good at not getting cancers and scientists have tried for years to find out how is that possible. According to new research, they are able of bringing a gene back from the dead and that’s how they kill mischievous cells.
The research and Peto’s paradox
Scientists from the University of Chicago conducted some experiments and they managed to finally understand how the mechanism behind the elephant’s ability to kill cancer cells works. By doing so, they shed new light on the Peto’s paradox.
Peto’s paradox begins with this supposition: that as the size gets bigger in an animal, so does the risk of it developing cancer. We find this to be true with almost any species. Take, for example, dogs. The larger breeds present a higher predisposition to cancer than the smaller ones.
However, this concept is made moot by comparing animals of different species. Scientists couldn’t find any correlation between the size of an animal or their lifespan and the chance of cancer cells to haste their division process.
The paradox was named after an epidemiologist called Richard Peto and it has confused biologists for quite some time. They believed that, by evolving into a larger animal, would have required that our bodies would know how to restrict cancer cells.
According to a 2015 study, elephants have a cancer mortality rate of only 5%, as opposed to puny humans whose rate is 11-25%. That study also lets us know why that is. Apparently, elephants are in possession of the TP53 gene, an anti-cancer gene which detects damaged DNA and tells the cell to fix it or kill itself.
Most mammals have only two copies of this gene. Elephants, on the other hand, are in possession of twenty copies, which for sure helps them in avoiding tumor growth.
Laura grew up in a small town in northern Quebec. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Laura is an advocate for people with disabilities.