Can sharks cure cancer? Great white shark genome decoded



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The entire genome of great white sharks has been decoded and the secrets that have been revealed could help solve the problem of treating cancer and other age-related diseases.

The findings were revealed in a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which explains that DNA mapping could be a clue to understanding the genetic alterations that are likely responsible for the "evolutionary success of sharks of large and long-lasting. "

"Not only was there a surprisingly large number of genome stability genes that contained these adaptive changes, but there was also an enrichment of many of these genes, highlighting the importance of this genetic adjustment in white shark" said Dr. Mahmood. Shivji, director of the Shark Research Center of the Save Our Seas Foundation of the NSU and the IRSG, in a statement. Shivji co-directed the study, along with Dr. Michael Stanhope.

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Research also shows that the great whites, who have been around for nearly 16 million years, are able to repair their DNA, something that humans can not do. Sharks as a species have existed for more than 400 million years, according to the Smithsonian.

The genome itself contains 41 pairs of chromosomes (versus 23 for humans) and a number of "specific DNA sequence modifications". The researchers found that this allowed the sharks to maintain genome stability, which preserves the integrity of the genome.

In contrast, genome instability, caused by DNA damage, is known to cause cancer and other age-related diseases.

According to a study conducted in 2014, the average lifespan of great white sharks is 70 years, although it varies between men and women. The world's largest known white giant, a 20-foot giant known as "Deep Blue", is said to be over 50 years old.

The study also revealed that the large white genome contains a large number of "jumping genes", or long interspersed nuclear elements (LINE).

"These LINEs are known to cause genome instability by creating double-stranded DNA breaks," Stanhope said in a statement. "It is plausible that this proliferation of LINE in the white shark genome may represent a potent selective agent for the evolution of effective DNA repair mechanisms, and is reflected in the positive selection and distribution of DNA. enrichment of so many genome stability genes. "

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The genome stability genes observed in white adults are also present in whale sharks, a fish that can reach a length of more than 20 meters and weigh more than 20 tonnes. Size is important for developing cancer risk as it should increase statistically with cell number and longevity. However, this does not hold for all species, as large animals do not develop more cancers than humans, which may suggest that they have developed "superior cancer protection capabilities".

"Decoding the white shark genome provides science with a new set of keys to solving the lingering mysteries about these dreaded and misunderstood predators – why sharks have thrived for about 500 million years, longer than almost any vertebrate of the planet, "co-authored Dr. Dr Salvador Jorgensen said in the statement.

The researchers also found that the genome can heal wounds quickly, including a "key gene for blood clotting," Stanhope said.

In the end, more research is needed to determine if sharks are the solution to help humans solve these age-old problems.

"We still have a lot to learn from these wonders of evolution, including potentially useful information for fighting cancer and age-related diseases, and for improving wound healing treatments at home. the man, as we discover how these animals do it, "said Shivji.

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