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Elephant testicles do not descend, with implications for sperm production being hot enough to compromise germline DNA replication/repair. Uniquely, elephants also possess 20 copies of a gene encoding for the p53 protein. Did elephants evolve multiplication of the TP53 gene complex to protect their germline rather than to fight cancer?

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Ecol Evol

Publication Date



Afrotheria, Elephantidae, Loxodonta, Peto’s paradox, TP53 retrogenes, cancer, climate change, germline, p53 isoforms, soma