A "contagious" cancer is infecting clams


What about FLV? I paid the vet for shots, anyway…

EDIT: Now that I’ve read the NatGeo article:

His team has discovered that the thing that transmits the cancer isn’t a virus, but the cancer itself.

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Came to ask about HPV, too.


Does it work on oysters? Send it on over here so we can have a different problem to solve with a different poison. Maybe we’ll get up to the part of the story where there’s only a lion left wandering around.

Could be a handy way to deal with invasive species.

Came here expecting that by the time I’d get to the bottom of the comments page, I’d have worked out a joke that featured HPV and clams.

I failed…



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I thought the same thing. Maybe the virus is linked to the cancer but they don’t consider the cancer itself to be contagious?

This transmissible clam cancer sounds to me a lot like HeLa, which is a cell line derived from human cervical cancer cells found in a sample from Henrietta Lacks.

HeLa is incredibly useful since it’s a human-derived cell that doesn’t have a Hayflick limit, and has been used to do lots and lots of biological research.

Unfortunately it’s a very invasive and hardy cell-line as well, and is estimated to contaminate 10-20% of all in vitro cell cultures.

In fact, there’s even a proposal to classify HeLa as its own species now, because it has a non-human number of chromosomes (although all it’s DNA is human. Duplications and fusions and such).

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