General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

Do plants and fungi get cancer?

Asked by AstroChuck (36678 points ) July 2nd, 2008 from iPhone

There are many kinds of live on Earth other than the animal kingdom. Other types of life are susceptible to disease. What about cancer? Are animals the only type of life that get cancer?

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7 Answers

Magnus's avatar

Oh yes they do, if you walk in the forest you might see some trees with huge tumors.
Like this

lefteh's avatar

Great link Magnus. These tumors are called cankers and I are usually caused by Crown Gall, which is essentially the botanical form of cancer.

That is all based on one class I took at a biology camp a year ago. I need fact-checked.

marinelife's avatar

Right you are as usual, lefteh. From the Texas Tech Plant Molecular Biology Lab: “Agrobacterium tumefaciens is a plant pathogen that causes a disease in dicotyledonous (broad-leafed) plants called crown gall. A crown gall is a tumor that usually forms on the stem of plants that consists of rapidly dividing cells. The crown gall is essentially a plant cancer. These galls do not kill the plant directly but they tap resources from the plant and can sometimes grow large enough to block the vascular system of the stem.”

Right? lefteh? Perhaps you should change that to righteh, although it does not have the same ring to it.

AstroChuck's avatar

If plants can get cancer what about other forms of life? What about protozoa and fungi for a couple?

theabk's avatar

Cancer is cells replicating without control, so I don’t think single-celled organisms like protozoa could have it, but I don’t know about fungi.

AstroChuck's avatar

Protozoa are primarily single cell, but not exclusively.

timothykinney's avatar

This is an interesting question. I am curious what motivated it. I’m not sure if fungi have some version of cancer. It would be very interesting to learn more…especially since some people tout certain fungi as supporting the human immune system against all kinds of problems (mostly anti-viral and tonifying).

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