Elephants Have Much Lower Cancer Risk Compared to Humans

Why? A naturally occurring gene has got the answer.

Photo by Andrew Rice on Unsplash

When a DNA replicates, the newborn DNA doesn’t appear to be a lookalike to its parent. It inherits a lot of changes which is caused by mutations. 

Those mutated DNAs can be dangerous if they are altered too much compared to their parent. When this sort of extraordinary mutation happens, a particular gene either repairs the DNA or sets the cell to self-destruct.

Thanks to gene p53 that saves a cell from becoming cancerous. Or, destroys the cell if it becomes cancerous. Human beings frequently get cancer due to these kinds of genetic modifications.

A recent study claims that the chance that an elephant gets cancer is only 5% compared to that of human beings. Why? The Count of p53 in a cell is the answer.

Researchers from France and Poland have recently discovered that elephants have ten pairs of p53 genes in their bodies. And those 20 genes produce 40 proteins that repair damaged DNA.

Authors speculated that having so many copies of this gene help elephants in fighting cancer.

In contrast, human beings only hold one p53. Yes, only one. That produces two proteins. And, on many occasions, this gene dysfunctions due to random mutation in the cell, producing a cancer cell.

Human life exists just because of a matter of chance. One last mutation, one damaged DNA, one tumor cell, and cancer takes over. So, eat healthy, stay healthy, and help the p53 gene function efficiently. 

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