Naked Mole Rat Genome Sequenced.

by David Ng

Paper link: (E. B. Kim et alNature doi:10.1038/nature10533;2011)

“The naked mole rat is one of Mother Nature’s great survivors. The busy underground lairs in which the animals live almost always run low on oxygen and high on carbon dioxide. Steady subterranean temperatures have sapped the creatures’ ability to regulate their body temperature. Yet what they sacrifice in quality of life they more than make up for in extraordinary quantity. Comfortably the longest-living rodent, naked mole rats can live for more than 30 years. They seem impervious to cancer and do not feel some types of pain.

All of which means that the frankly ugly naked mole rat could prove a sight for sore eyes in the biomedical community. The information published on its genome and transcriptome has already revealed patterns of gene expression different from those in humans, mice and rats, and this may underlie its longevity. With further study, mechanisms of ageing, genetic regulation of lifespan, adaption to extreme environments, low-oxygen tolerance, cancer resistance, sexual development and hormonal regulation are up for grabs.”

Via Nature. Image from Livescience.com.