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What's more, alongside the ability to prolong cancer cell life, the genes also seem to be able to suppress or stop the growth entirely.

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Geneticist Qiang Qiu and his team, from the Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an, China started their research by mapping out the genes active in 16 live tissue samples from goats, sheep, and deer. Qiu and the research team found that genes responsible for bone formation and embryonic tissue development in the neural crest likely spearheaded the development of bony headgear for ruminants. Furthermore they found — the study was published in Science on June 21 — that while the same mutation responsible for bone formation appeared across various types of deer, not all of them displayed them.

For instance, in contrast to regular deer, two separate species of musk and Chinese water deer entirely lack antlers. Regular deer, the researchers found, possessed eight active genes that jumpstarted tumor formation and growth. From these findings, Qui states that antler growth is more akin to bone cancer than regular bones. However, in the case of antler growth contrasted to bone cancer, tumors, in this exceptional case, do not grow unchecked but are part of the animal's highly regulated system of genes, which both suppress and inhibit tumor growth.

Edward D. Davis, an evolutionary paleobiologist at the University of Oregon, states that, "Deer antlers are essentially a controlled form of bone cancer growth.


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As tumor-promoting genes are expected in something like antler growth, the involvement of cancer-controlling genes is a surprising find. But the surprises didn't stop there.

Cervid Physiology

Qiu says that the cancer-suppressing genes also protect against the disease in general. Documented cancer rates in deer are five times less than other mammals. Wang Wen, the study's lead author remarked about the amazing ability of deer to regrow antlers.

Antlers grow up to one inch per day. Wang's team found nine genes involved with this antler cell growth. There was an additional 19 genes that act as tumor suppressors. The two different sets of genes work together to build thriving antler cells without developing into cancer on other parts of the body.

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Implications from this study could be substantial for future cancer research. For instance, deer antlers have inspired a commercially promising prosthesis for amputees. This is just the beginning, as the animal's ability to grow "innervated bone with low tumour and infection incidence," could help remedy skeletal defects and affect other bone growth issues.

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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation How academic freedom strengthens the bonds of accumulated knowledge. Energy: Carbon as a Fuel and a Tissue Constituent. Back Matter Pages About this book Introduction Nutrition spans a wide range of mechanisms from acquisition of food to digestion, absorption and retention of energy substrates, water and other nutrients. Nutritional principles have been applied to improving individual health, athletic performance and longevity of humans and of their companion animals, and to maximizing agricultural efficiency by manipulating reproduction or growth of tissues such as muscle, hair or milk in livestock.

Comparative nutrition borrows from these tra- tional approaches by applying similar techniques to studies of ecology and physiology of wildlife.

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Comparative approaches to nutrition integrate several levels of organization because the acquisition and flow of energy and nutrients connect individuals to populations, populations to communities, and communities to ecosystems. Integrative Wildlife Nutrition connects behavioral, morphological and biochemical traits of animals to the life history of species and thus the dynamics of populations. An integrated approach to nutrition provides a practical framework for understanding the interactions between food resources and wildlife popu- tions and for managing the harvest of abundant species and the conservation of threatened populations.

This book is for students and professionals in animal physiology and ecology, conservation biology and wildlife management.

It is based on our lectures, dem- strations and practical classes taught in the USA, Canada and Australia over the last three decades. Instructors can use Integrative Wildlife Nutrition as a text in wildlife and conservation biology programs, and as a reference source for related courses in wildlife ecology.

Absorption Calcium Conservation biology Phosphor Vitamin animal ecology biology chemistry ecology environment megnesium metabolism physiology plants transport. Editors and affiliations.