Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2022

There’s no doubt that sharks are one of the most feared creatures on Earth, but they are also one of the most sophisticated and enduring ones. They are particularly good at healing themselves and resisting cancer, with some species even living to the ripe old age of 400. In an attempt to decode the animal’s incredible quirks, scientists have now sequenced the entire genome of the great white shark. Within the genome, the researchers found that natural selection had given a boost to genes involved in DNA repair, DNA damage response and DNA damage tolerance, which could be behind the animals’ resilience against cancer and other age-related diseases. Another finding showed that genes related to wound healing and blood clotting had been selected for and enriched, which goes a long way towards explaining how sharks can shake off even large wounds without too much trouble. The findings could potentially help find new treatments for cancer and wound healing in humans, and also improve the conservation efforts of these fascinating animals.

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