Video: Could cancer be our oldest ancestor?

(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.

"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

Conceptualizing cancer cells as ancient 'toolkit'

Citation: Video: Could cancer be our oldest ancestor? (2011, March 31) retrieved 17 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-03-video-cancer-oldest-ancestor.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more