Washington: A physicist is trying to shed light on the origin of cancer by tracing the disease back to the dawn of multicellularity, more than a billion years ago.Paul Davies is researching on this topic, taking into account that the death rates from cancer have remained largely unchanged over the past 60 years.His new theory, drawn together with Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University, suggests that cancer is a throwback to an ancient genetic ‘sub-routine’ where the mechanisms that usually instruct cells when to multiply and die malfunctions, thus forcing the cells to revert back to a default option that was programmed into their ancestors long ago.“To use a computer analogy, cancer is like Windows defaulting to ‘safe mode’ after suffering an insult of some sort,” Davies writes.
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