Ports are hotspots for invasive cancer in muscles.

MtBTN2 cells under the microscope (×100 magnification). They are characterized by their large size, prominent nucleus and sparse cytoplasm. In contrast, a healthy cell—a smaller-sized hemocyte with more abundant cytoplasm—is seen at lower right. Credit: Maureen Hamill

Ports serve as the epicenter of the global spread of MtrBTN2, a rare infectious cancer that affects muscles. In this disease, cancer cells, like parasites, can move from one to another in close proximity.

While, in nature, such contagion occurs primarily between mussels in the same bed, harbors and marine transport facilitate the spread of MtrBTN2 to other locations through biofouling, allowing the disease to spread. Attach yourself to the hulls of the ship.

The discovery was the result of research by a team led by scientists from CNRS and the University of Montpellier. published I Proceedings of the Royal Society B On February 21

Ports are hotspots for invasive cancer in muscles.

Mytilus edulis mussels on a pile of floating dock in the French port of Crucec. Credit: Nicholas Barron

High incidence of disease in 76 mussel populations were noted after studying natural and artificial habitats along the coast of southern Brittany and the Vendée.

The research team claims that their findings argue in favor of biofouling mitigation policies, to prevent the spread of disease and protect coastal ecosystems.

More information:
M. Hammel et al, Marine-borne cancer circulating in urban waters, poses a threat, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2024). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2023.2541

Reference: Seaports found to be hotspots of contagious cancer in mussels (2024, February 21) Retrieved February 21, 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-02-seaports-hotspots-contagious-cancer-mussels.html went

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