Suggested Reading: "Why Most of What You've Heard About Cancer Is Wrong"

DNA


Interesting article and podcast at Mother Jones about cancer - what it is, why it happens and why cancer and evolution may be inseparable mechanisms. In other words, cancer may be an inevitable byproduct of DNA and it may be impossible to completely eliminate it:
"..modern science suggests we've been thinking about this dreaded disease all wrong. Yes, cancer is terrible, but paradoxically, the mechanisms behind it are at the heart of what it means to be alive in the first place. Cancer isn't a bug, unfortunately; it's looking more and more like a feature. If we haven't beaten it yet, that may be why.

...

In the book, Johnson cites a stunning estimate by MIT cancer researcher Robert Weinberg: About 4 million of our body's cells are dividing and copying their DNA every second of every day. With every replication, there is a potential for mistakes, and a risk of developing cancer. Thankfully, we've evolved solutions to rogue errors, and our bodies can repair or destroy precancerous cells the vast majority of the time. Yet the risk can never be zero, because without this process of cell division and regeneration, we would quickly cease to live.

In fact, without the capacity for cellular mutation and the ability to pass on reformatted DNA to our offspring, our species would not have been capable of evolving. We wouldn't be who we are today. "There's something unfortunately natural about cancer," explains Johnson. "It's a natural tradeoff of evolution.""

 Read the rest here.
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