Evolution gave us cancer, say Scots scientists
A LEAP in our evolution over 500 million years ago is the reason why people contract diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
The link was found in a study by Dundee and St Andrews universities which looked at a period in our evolution where our early ancestors first developed spines.
Vertebrates first emerged around 500 million years ago from a massive evolutionary upheaval that involved two successive doublings in the amount of DNA in a marine invertebrate.
This doubling triggered the evolution of a new animal, which became the ancestor of the backboned fishes, birds, reptiles and mammals, including humans.
The doubling of DNA meant that internal communications in our early ancestors became more complex.
Such complexity is needed to co-ordinate human bodies.
The study looks at the downside of this, where the communication breakdowns lead to diseases such as diabetes, cancer and neurological disorders. Professor Carol MacKintosh, of the College of Life Sciences at Dundee University said: “Amazingly, what happened so long ago still affects the life and diseases of modern humans.
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