Cancer in wild animals

Cancer is a very old disease that arose with multicellularity, but it is also a major scientific and societal issue. Cancer in wildlife has been largely understudied, while it is known that all animals do get cancer. Through the inclusion of a wider variety of organisms in cancer studies, we can learn about the evolution of cancer, ecological factors affecting cancer emergence, cancer defence mechanisms used by wild animals, and links between life-history and cancer.

In addition to comparative studies of cancer in wild animals, we are focusing also on environmental oncogenic factors. Aquatic ecosystems especially are subjected to increasing concentrations and varieties of pollutants many of which can increase cancer risk. We study flatfish, but also other fish species, to determine whether some individuals, populations, or species have evolved mechanisms to reduce cancer risk in polluted habitats.