Cancer pp 177-205 | Cite as

Heredity and Cancer: Comparative Aspects


Inherited genomes cannot function independently of either their own innate capabilities or their environment. Physiologically, it is unlikely that a mouse genome, in any environment, could develop into a man. Pathologically, a peculiarly human disorder such as the skin-cancer-predisposing xeroderma pigmentosum or the smoking-associated oat-cell lung carcinoma is not known either to occur naturally or to be inducible in experimental animals. Analogously, even an ‘environmental’ human disease such as malaria or Schistosoma haematobium-associated bladder cancer is not known to occur in the insect or snail vector harbouring the implicated pathogen. Oncogenic viruses such as the feline leukemia virus or the chicken sarcoma virus of domestic animals with which humans are in constant contact are not known to produce cancer in man. Conversely, human viruses such as some of the adenoviruses are non-oncogenic in humans, their natural hosts, but they can produce fatal cancers when artificially introduced into some animals (Chapter Three, Section Consequently, the essential basis of perhaps all aspects of normal and pathological developments is ecogenetic. The terms ‘genetic disease’ and ‘environmental disease’ are hence relative and operational within this generalized framework.


Globin Gene Xeroderma Pigmentosum Leydig Cell Tumour Comparative Aspect Feline Leukemia Virus 


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© R. Nery 1986

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