Monday 2 August 2021

Domestic cats get cancer less often than humans?

Wes Warren is part of a team of three with William Murphy and Lesley Lyons who mapped the genome of cats. Warren works at the University of Missouri and Murphy works at Texas A&M University. Lyons is a veterinarian and a specialist in cat genetic. They are very skilled scientists and Wes Warren said that cats don't get cancer very often. I thought I would briefly follow that up because Lesley Lyons suggests that cats should be used more in animal research which I strongly disagree with

He actually said this:

'We know that dogs get cancer more frequently, similar to ourselves. Cats don’t get cancer very often. And that’s a fascinating story of evolution.'
He is staying that cats get cancer less often than dogs and dogs and humans get it at similar rates.

Cat, dog and human
Cat, dog and human. Photo: Pixabay.

The reason given is that they have better genes than humans (this is probably a massive oversimplification) and therefore we should study them to see whether we can improve human resistance to cancer and other diseases.

My brief research indicates that in the UK 0.54-0.59% of the human population will get cancer whereas in general I'm told that one in five or 20% of cats get cancer in their lifetimes. That positively does not square up with what Wes Warren stated.

It probably doesn't square up because when you try and research the prevalence of cancer in cats just don't get a clear answer except the one that I provided which comes from the Colorado State University. One thing is for sure and that is cats get cancer less often than dogs.

Certainly, dogs are taken to a veterinarian more often cats. That may point to the possibility that dogs are sick more often than cats (or owners are more concerned about dog health?). Overall, cats have better genetic diversity than dogs because a far higher percentage of dogs are purebred and therefore inbred due to selective breeding than cats. Purebred cats are relatively rare compared to random bred cats. Therefore, perhaps it is fair to say that cats have better genes in terms of longevity than dogs and perhaps humans.

I think this team of geneticists say that cats have better DNA 'dark matter' as they call it. The DNA dark matter needs to be studied as it is more important than believed.

Conclusion: I can't find direct statistical comparison between cats and humans on prevalence of cancer. But Wes Warren should know. Cats get cancer less often than people and dogs is the conclusion.

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