Contagious Cancer in Dogs Leaves Prehistoric Paw Prints
Murchison and her colleagues found that the infectious cancer is a living fossil. The modern tumors contain the DNA of an ancient pooch that hung out with prehistoric people thousands of years ago.
The contagious cancer first arose about 11,000 years ago in a wolf-dog hybrid that’s most closely related to an Alaskan malamute, Murchison and her team report Thursday in the journal Science.
About 500 years ago, the tumor jumped from continent to continent via the world’s pooches. And the cells have been living and hiding out in dogs ever since.
“When I look down the microscope and see these cells that came from a dog 11,000 years ago, it boggles my mind,” Murchison tells Shots.” It’s really incredible.”