Apparently, the deer horn comes from bone cancer cells



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KOMPAS.com – Horns are one of the accessories commonly found in ruminants of mammals (ruminants), especially in males. Horns of various shapes are owned by the male to attract the attention of females during the mating season and are used to duel with other males when they fight over the pair.

However, the existence of this horn has its own secret.

The latest study conducted by a joint research team from China and Denmark revealed the secret behind the development of horns, which has implications for the development of human cells.

Initially, researchers were interested in studying the origin of the evolution of the horn in ruminants, which have various structures and forms.

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For example, deer and deer have horns called antler, composed of bony skeletons covered by skin and special neural networks that can grow and change every year.

It is different from giraffes, which have horns ossicle, composed of bones wrapped in fur and fine hair.

However, cattle and sheep have horns that are coated with a dry and hardened keratin layer, leaving little hollow space in the interior.

Although it has several structures and forms, it is verified that these several horns are formed by the same gene. Based on an analysis of the genomes of 44 different species of ruminant animals, including cattle, deer, antelopes, giraffes, sheep, etc., it was revealed that all were organized by the same genetic group.

This suggests that the evolution of the horn occurred only once, notably in the common ancestor of modern ruminants that exist today. It is believed that the gene responsible for horn formation regulates embryonic tissue called neural crest.

Comparison and genetic analysis of two horned ruminants, that is, musk deer and aquatic deer species confirmed this, as they had mutations in the gene so they did not have horns.

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Another thing that was revealed was that eight active genes involved in horn formation in these animals were genes that also play a role in the formation and growth of the tumor.

Unlike bone cancer (osteocarcinoma) that is not controlled, horn growth is regulated through the activation and inactivation of different cancer genes.

That is, the horn is an organ structure produced by the growth of cells of controlled bone cancer.

"Stag horns are made primarily by controlling the growth of bone cells that have cancer," said Edward Davis, an evolutionary paleobiologist at the University of Oregon. Science.

This also makes the risk of cancer in ruminants relatively low. Deer are known to have a cancer risk five times lower than other mammals, including humans.

Results published in the journal Science This is expected to help research for cancer cells, especially understanding how cancer cells can be controlled and, one day, to use them to produce dead tissue, so that it can be used to regenerate paralyzed limbs or limbs.

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