Over at least 4o years, along the East Coast from Maine to the Chesapeake, leukemia has been effecting populations of soft-shell clams (also known as steamers and little necks). How the disease spread and the cause of the disease is a mystery but researches recently think the disease was transmitted by a virus. Scientists found cancer cells all had the same DNA in the clams which meant everything came from one original case of cancer in one clam. Cancer normally evolves in an animal when its own cells start acting up and goes out of control. This is the third case of cancer known in nature, after facial tumor in Tasmanian devils spread by biting, and tumor in dogs spread by sexual contact. However, cancer is adapted by the individual species, so if humans eat clams the human immune system will block the bad tissue. Overall, mussels and oysters are being looked at next since they share the similar diseases where cancer in nature may be more common then people thought.
One set of Cells makes Cancer in Clams