Bats Hide Secrets of Longevity

Bats Hide Secrets of Longevity

Saturday, 10 February, 2018 - 05:30
A bat is held by a scientist during an educational event part of the European "Night for Bats" in Mikulov, Czech Republic, Sept. 1, 2012.
Washington - London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Bats are the longest-lived mammals relative to body size, and a particular specie among them lives especially long. According to Reuters, researchers now have unlocked some of this bat’s - the greater mouse-eared bat- longevity secrets, with hints for fighting the effects of aging in people.

Scientists said that the structures called telomeres located at the end of chromosomes in this specie do not shorten with age, unlike in people and most other animals.

Only 19 mammal species are longer-lived than humans relative to body size. Eighteen of them are bats, some living more than four decades. The other is a weird African rodent called a naked mole rat. The researchers identified two genes in the greater mouse-eared bat that may be responsible for its unique longevity adaptation. These mechanisms could be the focus of future studies on aging, with an eye toward extending healthy lifespans in people, the researchers said.

Biologist Emma Teeling of University College Dublin in Ireland, one of the study leaders, said: “Studying exceptionally long-living mammals that have naturally evolved mechanisms to fight aging is an alternative way to identify the molecular basis of extended health spans.”

The research, which was published in the journal Science Advances, studied 493 individual bats from four species, with the greater mouse-eared bat had the longest lifespan.

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