Human link in spread of infectious cancer in mussels | 11/5/2019 | Staff
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Mussels hitching a ride on ships are the likely source of an infectious cancer now found on both sides of the Atlantic, scientists say.

Mussels hitching a ride on ocean-going ships are likely responsible for the spread of an infectious cancer found in different species on either side of the Atlantic, scientists say.

Study - ELife - Activity - Spread - Cancers

A recent study in the journal eLife suggests that human activity may "unwittingly be contributing to the worldwide spread of infectious cancers" affecting mussels, clams and cockles.

Most often, cancer arises from DNA mutations in an organism's cells which lead to uncontrolled cell growth—it does not normally spread from one organism to another, although it can.

Devils - Dogs - Bivalves - Cancers - Others

"Tasmanian devils, dogs and bivalves have all developed cancers that can spread to others, acting more like a pathogen or parasite," lead author Marisa Yonemitsu, Research Technician at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute in Seattle, Washington, said in a summary of the study findings.

Yonemitsu said one such cancer, called a bivalve transmissible neoplasia, was previously found in a mussel species, Mytilus trossulus, in British Columbia, Canada.

Cancers - Mussel - Species - World

Similar cancers have also been found in related mussel species around the world but it was not known if they were transmissible.

To find out, the scientists...
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