Genotype data not consistent with clonal transmission of sea turtle fibropapillomatosis or goldfish schwannoma.
Recent discoveries of transmissible cancers in multiple bivalve species suggest that direct transmission of cancer cells within species may be more common than previously thought, particularly in aquatic environments. Fibropapillomatosis occurs with high prevalence in green sea turtles ( Chelonia mydas) and the geographic range of disease has increased since fibropapillomatosis was first reported in this species. Widespread incidence of schwannomas, benign tumours of Schwann cell origin, reported in aquarium-bred goldfish (Carassius auratus), suggest an infectious aetiology. We investigated the hypothesis that cancers in these species arise by clonal transmission of cancer cells. Through analysis of polymorphic microsatellite alleles, we demonstrate concordance of host and tumour genotypes in diseased animals. These results imply that the tumours examined arose from independent oncogenic transformation of host tissue and were not clonally transmitted. Further, failure to experimentally transmit goldfish schwannoma via water exposure or inoculation suggest that this disease is unlikely to have an infectious aetiology.