SYDNEY - Researchers believe that our oldest mammalian relative such as the platypus may help provide clues into the causes of ovarian cancer.
Geneticist Frank Grtzner of the University of Adelaide (U of A) said DNA mapping of the platypus has unravelled an interesting link between their sex chromosomes and DNA sequences found in human ovarian cancer.
“We’ve identified DNA on the sex chromosomes of the platypus that is similar to the DNA that is affected in ovarian cancer and other diseases of reproduction like male infertility,” Grtzner said.
“Cancers often show a large number of DNA changes and it is difficult to decide which ones are important for the development of the disease.”
“The comparison with distantly related species like platypus helps us in identifying important DNA sequences that have been conserved by evolution over millions of years,” he said.
Grtzner’s associate Martin Oehler, ovarian cancer specialist from the Royal Adelaide Hospital, says “ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynaecological cancer and ranks as the sixth most common cause of cancer death in Australian women.”