Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Did Evolution Make Us Cancer Prone?

Date:
July 3, 2009
Source:
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that gene mutations that once helped humans survive may increase the possibility for diseases, including cancer.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have discovered that gene mutations that once helped humans survive may increase the possibility for diseases, including cancer.

Related Articles


The findings were recently the cover story in the journal Genome Research.

The team of researchers from BGU's National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev (NIBN) set out to look for mutations in the genome of the mitochondria, a part of every cell responsible for energy production that is passed exclusively from mothers to their children. The mitochondria are essential to every cell's survival and our ability to perform the functions of living.

"Our ancestors responded to environmental changes, such as climate shift, with mutations that increased their chances of survival. But today, these same mutations predispose us toward complex diseases such as cancer," according to researcher Dr. Dan Mishmar, a molecular biologist from the Department of Life Sciences at BGU. "Although mitochondria's role in the emergence of new species has been investigated recently, the idea that they are responsible for our susceptibility to illness startles many."

To test this hypothesis, the researchers analyzed the genome mitochondria mutations from 98 unrelated individuals. Combinations of mutations tended to occur in tumors in precisely the same DNA building blocks that changed during evolution. The team also found that the mitochondrial genome of humans who migrated out of Africa to Europe 100,000 years ago carried seven mutations found in almost all of today's Europeans.

"The concept that the same principles that drive evolution toward the emergence of new species govern the emergence of diseases is new," Mishmar explains. "A clinician looks at the genome of a tumor, or other disease, and compares it to the normal population, looking for new mutations that do not occur there. I assume the mutations are already part of the population and have had a survival function. When these same mutations reoccur in the correct environment, they can cause disease."

As reported in the leading journal Genome Research, "We show, strikingly, that evolution repeated itself in cancer. If we better understand how evolution moved, we can understand the genetic basis of many complex disorders. Since mitochondria play a central role in disease, if we understand how they work and the way they changed our ability to survive in different conditions in ancient times, we can understand the mechanics of the disease. And we'll understand a lot about the way certain people develop diseases and others have a lower tendency toward those same diseases. This may lead to new methods of disease prevention or cures."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "Did Evolution Make Us Cancer Prone?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702114210.htm>.
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. (2009, July 3). Did Evolution Make Us Cancer Prone?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702114210.htm
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "Did Evolution Make Us Cancer Prone?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702114210.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins