The naked mole rat isn't a particularly handsome devil, but there's more to life than being pretty--like living ten times longer than other mammals your size, withstanding extremely harsh conditions without breaking a sweat, or beating cancer. The naked mole rat does all of these things without really trying, so it's perhaps unsurprising that British researchers are sequencing the un-cuddly rodent's genome looking for clues to its longevity and fortitude.
The initial draft of the genome is already complete and has been put online for other researchers to access in hopes that biologists and geneticists can unravel the mystery behind the naked mole rat's unique hardiness. For instance, naked mole rats live to be about 30 (common rats live to about age four) and they do so in harsh underground environments where oxygen is scarce.
They also show resistance to a number of diseases, namely cancer. There have been no recorded naked mole rat deaths attributed to cancer in the decades of study devoted to the creatures, and that makes its genome a rich hunting ground for researchers trying to pinpoint the genetic hallmarks of cancer--or the mechanisms for cancer resistance.
But that's not the only unique and interesting quirk that researchers would like to explore in the naked mole rat's genome. Previous research has shown that they feel no pain in their skin and that they are surprisingly resistant to strokes (they are already imbued with a low metabolic rate that allows them to live on less oxygen, but this physical trait could go beyond simple metabolism).
In other words the naked mole rat, while not completely indestructible (although acid doesn't seem to burn them, so there's another superhero-like quality they possess), are survivors from whom we can hopefully learn a few genetic tricks. This genome blueprint is a start. If it turns out that naked mole rats are genetically predisposed to stop speeding bullets, you'll read about it here.
painless soldiers anyone?
They are too ugly even for the grim reaper to be interested.
Getting rid of pain! What could possibly go wrong?
-Spouting a fountain of nonsense since 1995-
Anyone that watched the Incredibles, the Moleking??? in the end!!! Now you know why no sequel exists, they died fighting him.
I don't get it. Sequencing the genome to find out about painlessness--why? CIPA patients have already given us a pinpointed locus for such a mutation.
-IMP ;) :)
HAHA! The rat on the top right of the picture looks like a penis!
They feel no pain in their skin?
Maybe it's because they lack pain receptors there???
It's like cuticles on humans...no pain receptors, so no pain...duh!
This is like the second article where all the comments are focused on some nonsensical non-issue while completely ignoring the most important parts of the article.
this happens on nearly every article
lol. picture looks funny. Yes no more flu!!! only downside is no more sicknesses means sever human overpopulation. looks like we are gonna have to move to another planet within the next 100 years.
I feel like I'm the only one who read the part where they are trying to cure cancer
Prescription drug abuse is a concept that has long been there but in recent times has caught the attention of the world. It existed from the time doctors prescribed medicines but it has seen a growth since doctors started writing “refill” or “repeat prescription”.
The naked mole rate doesn't feel pain because it is missing a neurotransmitter, Substance P.
Research into the genome could help prevent cancer, stroke and other age-related disease, and could help people with untreatable pain. We've written on this at www.genome-engineering.com/new-genomes.html.
the title of this article is misleading. they're not completely immune to pain - only certain types of it, due to the receptors they're lacking.
you have to remember that feeling pain is not a disadvantage. evolutionarily, it is an advantage. if you don't feel pain, you may not know what's bad for you until it's too late.
don't get me wrong though. these genetic quirks are definitely worth exploring and possibly beneficial for many people suffering from various problems.
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