Video: Could cancer be our oldest ancestor?

Mar 31, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Arizona State University researcher Paul Davies shares his theory about cancer being our evolutionary ancestor.
read more

Before the Cambrian flowering of multicellular life, there was a period of about a billion years where cells began to get together and form rudimentary colonies, says Davies, an astrobiologist who is one of two scientists proposing a theory that suggests are living fossils.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

"These rudimentary colonies, I think, were like the earliest tumors. So when people get now, these tumors represent a throwback to that time about a billion years ago – that first experimentation with multicellularity," Davies says.

Explore further: For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Conceptualizing cancer cells as ancient 'toolkit'

Feb 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Despite decades of research and billions of dollars, cancer remains a major killer, with an uncanny ability to evade both the body's defenses and medical intervention. Now an Arizona State ...

Astrobiology meets cancer research

Feb 08, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In an interplanetary meeting of the minds, astrobiologists and oncologists have worked together to provide new insights into the origins of cancer, which remains a major killer despite the ...

Widening the search for extraterrestrial intelligence

Mar 01, 2010

"The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been dominated for its first half century by a hunt for unusual radio signals. But as he prepares for the publication of his new book The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone?," ...

Recommended for you

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

5 hours ago

Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on April 17th h ...

Rapid and accurate mRNA detection in plant tissues

6 hours ago

Gene expression is the process whereby the genetic information of DNA is used to manufacture functional products, such as proteins, which have numerous different functions in living organisms. Messenger RNA (mRNA) serves ...

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

Apr 16, 2014

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Chibikiba
not rated yet Apr 01, 2011
Although this is an interesting concept and perhaps has some very mild amount of merit in very specific kinds of cancer I will point to the common occurrence of randomized aneuploidy in cancerous cells as an counter argument to the concept that cancer is somehow a regressed stable-state of multicellularity. There are also, in simplified form, three main accepted possibilities for the origin of multicellular colonies, none of which resemble the process of cancer development. This proposition seems quite like someone got the idea that because cancer often grows uncontrollably and with deadly disregard for any interests other than it's own propagation that perhaps, through natural selection, it is related to some viciously aggressive ancestor of multicellular organisms.

More news stories

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...