- A contagious cancer in dogs has the ability to repair itself by acquiring mitochondria from its canine host's cells.
- The discovery could help to explain how this cancer, CTVT, has remained in the dog population for around 10,000 years.
- It's hoped that future research may lead to preventions or cures for other transmissible cancers.
Dogs can suffer from a contagious form of cancer that has the ability to repair itself at the expense of its canine victims, according to a new study.
The discovery could help to explain how this disease, Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor (CTVT), has persisted in the dog population for around 10,000 years. Mating in dogs typically transmits the cancer, although it can also be spread when a healthy dog licks, bites or sniffs tumor-affected areas of a victim.
"It is possible that when dogs were first domesticated, they were highly inbred, and so different individuals were genetically very similar, and this might have helped cancerous cells from one dog to be able to grow on another." study co-author Austin Burt told Discovery News.