A research team from Columbia University Medical Centre has discovered and found evidence that a certain type of cancer is spreading like wildfire between different species of bivalves.
Scientists believed that this is a widespread occurrence. We all know that Cancer is already scary. Cancer can be passed from one person to another, just like a virus, and is exponentially more frightening. But a cancer that can be passed from one species to a completely different one is just horrific.
Researchers discovered this kind of transfer as the bivalves die, the cancer cells are released into the water, and are picked up by other bivalves.
This type of cancer classified and identified to be contagious. There are two types of transmissible cancers known to spread in Tasmanian devils, and another type spreads in dogs.
Recent studies have found five more additional types infecting four species of mollusks and their close relatives.
The newly discovered contagious cancer is spreading between different species as Mussels gathered near Canada were found to be affected by the contagious cancer as the one affect adversely on cockles and golden carpet shell clams from the coast of Spain.
Research leader Stephen Goff and his team have found incriminating evidence that the same cancer is responsible in infecting different species living in underwater.
“The tumour cells didn’t have the same DNA as their host. Instead, every mussel was being killed by the same line of cancerous cells, which were jumping from one individual to the next like a virus,” Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post reporter outlines.
It shows that genetic analysis of the tumors didn’t originate from the existing host and it came from outside sources.
Researchers believed that sick bivalves are releasing cancerous cells when they die, that it wouldn’t take long before another bivalve picks up the cells passively, as a new host itself. Since mussels, cockles, and clams are passive filter feeders, their immune systems are underdeveloped and ill-equipped and cannot protect itself from infection.