Thursday, November 25, 2021

Skin Cancer in Geckos Through the SPINT1 Gene

The SPINT1 gene in geckos leads to a mutation in coloring in the Lemon Frost tumors. This gene is also found to have tumor formation in fish, mice, and humans. In addition, the gene is a very strong inhibitor specific for an activator that is involved in the regulation of injured tissues. This means that if the gene were to be mutated, the skin would not be a certain color and would be completely different.  This mutation causes the overproduction of white skin cells which gives geckos a frostier appearance and the likely chance of contracting a tumor. If a tumor were to form, it would grow into large bulges that would make it very difficult for the lizard to move. If infected, it would be ruptured and would then slowly kill the lizard in the coming years. 

Mr. Frosty, a studied gecko was found to have spots of white skin and was found to develop tumors due to a single gene. This is similar in humans because it is related to the implication in the skin cancer melanoma. Researchers had to uncover the gene responsible for the tumors by collecting the lizards' saliva and testing their DNA. Mr. Frosty was bred with different female leopard geckos which resulted in over 900 lizards in a single colony. The DNA was then tested and found to have more than 80% of the reptiles to have developed tumors made of white skin cells before they were 5 years old. The SPINT1 gene was revealed to have been responsible for mutation which was also an important gene for the large tumor formation. 

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