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August 7, 2008 Link to this post

From Dogs to the Universe
Heh - sort of a stretch, but pretty cool. Old Mattacus pointed us towards this article in a recent issue of Harper's - it's not really about Halo, but a small piece is related, and intriguing. It's a discussion of a contagious form of cancer in Tasmanian devils, but about halfway through the article, the author discusses other forms of contagious cancer, and focuses on Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor (CTVT) - an organism that is more related to tumors in other dogs with the malignancy than it is to its own host.

In other words, CTVT can be conceptualized as a single creature, a parasite (and not a species of parasite, but an individual), which has managed to spread itself out among millions of different dogs. Research by molecular geneticists suggests the tumor originated in a wolf, or maybe an East Asian dog, somewhere between 200 and 2,500 years ago, which means that CTVT is probably the oldest continuous lineage of mammal cells presently living on Earth. The dogs may be young, but the tumor is ancient.

As OM suggests, life sometimes imitates art - CTVT is an awful lot like the Flood! (Louis Wu 18:07:05 UTC)

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