AUG 18, 2018 1:15 AM PDT

Zombie Gene Protects Elephants From Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Over an organism’s life, cells keep on dividing and with each division the risk of acquiring a mutation that may lead to cancer increases. Therefore, it is normal to assume that larger animals with greater life spans have a high risk of developing cancer.

However, this is not the case for elephants who despite their 5500 kg body weight have a startlingly low rate of cancer. Such rarity has puzzled researchers for decades until a recent research study might have cracked the code. More specifically, researchers discovered a “zombie gene” that is protecting Elephants from acquiring cancer. This gene is called LIF6.

Watch the video above to learn more about how elephants are protected by the discovery of the zombie gene.

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
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