Parallel evolution of reduced cancer risk and tumor suppressor duplications in Xenarthra

  1. Juan Manuel Vazquez
  2. Maria T Pena
  3. Baaqeyah Muhammad
  4. Morgan Kraft
  5. Linda B Adams
  6. Vincent J Lynch  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of California, Berkeley, United States
  2. United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States
  3. University at Buffalo, State University of New York, United States

Abstract

The risk of developing cancer is correlated with body size and lifespan within species, but there is no correlation between cancer and either body size or lifespan between species indicating that large, long-lived species have evolved enhanced cancer protection mechanisms. Previously we showed that several large bodied Afrotherian lineages evolved reduced intrinsic cancer risk, particularly elephants and their extinct relatives (Proboscideans), coincident with pervasive duplication of tumor suppressor genes (Vazquez and Lynch 2021). Unexpectedly, we also found that Xenarthrans (sloths, armadillos, and anteaters) evolved very low intrinsic cancer risk. Here, we show that: 1) several Xenarthran lineages independently evolved large bodies, long lifespans, and reduced intrinsic cancer risk; 2) the reduced cancer risk in the stem lineages of Xenarthra and Pilosa coincided with bursts of tumor suppressor gene duplications; 3) cells from sloths proliferate extremely slowly while Xenarthran cells induce apoptosis at very low doses of DNA damaging agents; and 4) the prevalence of cancer is extremely low Xenarthrans, and cancer is nearly absent from armadillos. These data implicate the duplication of tumor suppressor genes in the evolution of remarkably large body sizes and decreased cancer risk in Xenarthrans and suggest they are a remarkably cancer resistant group of mammals.

Data availability

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript, supporting files, and data.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Juan Manuel Vazquez

    Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-8341-2390
  2. Maria T Pena

    National Hansen's Disease Program, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Baton Rouge, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Baaqeyah Muhammad

    Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Morgan Kraft

    Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Linda B Adams

    National Hansen's Disease Program, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Baton Rouge, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Vincent J Lynch

    Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, United States
    For correspondence
    vjlynch@buffalo.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-5311-3824

Funding

Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (AAI15006)

  • Maria T Pena
  • Linda B Adams

National Institutes of Health (R56AG071860)

  • Vincent J Lynch

National Science Foundation (2028459)

  • Vincent J Lynch

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Antonis Rokas, Vanderbilt University, United States

Version history

  1. Preprint posted: August 5, 2022 (view preprint)
  2. Received: August 9, 2022
  3. Accepted: December 7, 2022
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: December 8, 2022 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: January 3, 2023 (version 2)

Copyright

This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

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  1. Juan Manuel Vazquez
  2. Maria T Pena
  3. Baaqeyah Muhammad
  4. Morgan Kraft
  5. Linda B Adams
  6. Vincent J Lynch
(2022)
Parallel evolution of reduced cancer risk and tumor suppressor duplications in Xenarthra
eLife 11:e82558.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.82558

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.82558

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