Many efforts are being made to find a cure for a lot of currently incurable illnesses, one being cancer. In the quest to find a remedy or treatment that would effectively put cancer out, scientists look toward the genes of giant tortoises.
An international research team has discovered several variants in tortoise genomes that potentially affect six of the nine hallmarks of ageing. None of the variants has been previously associated with the ageing process.
They also found that giant tortoises have several expanded tumour suppressor genes, as well as alterations in two genes which are known to contribute to cancer.
This was something of a celebrity-tinged genome sequencing, because one of the two tortoises studied was the legendary Lonesome George, the last member of the Galapagos giant tortoise species from Pinta Island (Chelonoidis abingdoni). The other was an Aldabrachelys gigantea from the island of Aldabra in the Seychelles.
Do these tortoises hold the key to curing cancer? Only time will tell.
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)