Tuesday, November 21, 2023

How Geckos Are Used to Learn More About Skin Cancer

 image of Mr. Frosty the gecko

There is a specific type of gecko, found in the leopard geckos, called the Lemon Frost. The reason for the name is that its skin is all white with a few yellow highlights. The Lemon Frost is different from other Geckos because it has a very high tendency to develop tumors. Oftentimes, these tumors are also visible, appearing as pale white spots. Scientists have determined that this mutation occurs in a single gene. The name of the gene is SPLINT1 and what is interesting is that it is also found to be a cause for melanoma. A mutation in the SPLINT1 is what mainly causes these tumors to appear in the geckos. Aside from just melanoma, mutations in the SPLINT1 gene have also caused tumor formation in mice and fish. Overall now that the gene has been identified, skin cancer and tumors can be understood at a higher level. 

This is very interesting as this is a link between geckos and humans for tumors. Humans and reptiles are very distinct species, however this article shows that no matter how different two species may seem, their genetic makeups may be very similar. In addition, skin cancer and the formation still remain very serious medical concerns which do not have a lot of treatments as of now. Understanding more about this mutation and the gene itself, can help find more possible treatments. 

Links: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/lemon-frost-gecko-skin-cancer-tumors-genetics


“Lemon Frost Geckos”, “Skin Cancer”, “Skin Tumors”

1 comment:

  1. The connection between the gecko's SPLINT1 gene and development of tumors including melanoma highlights intriguing overlap between the species its quite interesting to known how similar we are.