Home TECH NEWS The long and strange life of the world’s oldest naked mole rat

The long and strange life of the world’s oldest naked mole rat



Joe witnessed the rise and fall of the dynasty. He and his colonial partners have been cleaning the nest for years, taking care of the queen, and acting as designated workers or xenophobic soldiers to prevent intruders. Most of them lead relatively healthy lives. Because they live in caves deep in the desert, moles have almost no natural enemies.

So do Kill the naked mole rat? “They beat each other,” said Martha Delaney, a veterinary pathologist at the University of Illinois. Naked mole rats are extremely xenophobes. They will attack outsiders, push each other, and exile members of the colony as outcasts.

“They are cute, cute animals,” Melissa Holmes said sincerely. Holmes is a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Toronto. He has studied more than 1,000 naked mole rats. The internal workings of the strange social structure of moles have earned them a reputation for offensiveness. “But for animals living in such a large group, they are very stable,” she said.

Holmes has owned her colony for 12 years. “In some of my colonies, we have never been injured, forever,” she said. “It’s amazing-animals can live together for many years without being aggressive.”

It’s not that naked mole rats will never age or get sick. They are like this. But their bodies slowed down these processes in some way. Although the bones of typical mammals have become more and more brittle and thin over the years, Mole bone preservation The same mineral content and maintain the same solids. As people grow older, people tend to gain more fat. Naked mole? Do not.

“But the most compelling system,” Bufenstein said, “is the cardiovascular system.” Human veins and arteries usually harden over time. The harder these walls become, the more difficult it is for the heart to pump blood. High blood pressure. Risk of death Up. The blood vessels of naked mole rats remain elastic for life. “Every measure we have observed in terms of heart function has not changed from six months to 24 years,” she said.

In humans, heart disease is the main cause of death. Cancer is second.on 40% Of Americans will develop cancer throughout their lives. For naked mole rats, the probability is much lower than 1%.in A study in 2008, Buffenstein reported that there was no cancer at all in a group of 800 moles. By 2021, Buffenstein said she had found only five cancers in more than 3,000 autopsies.

“They are really very old,” Delaney said. “They are very adaptable, a bit like a physiological miracle.” Delaney mainly studies naked mole rats in zoos, scanning biopsies and tissue sections to find out. How they died. She found several types of cancers in two naked mole rats (“After evaluating hundreds of thousands,” she said). Neither type of cancer is fatal.The naked mole rat does develop kidney with Brain Injury With age, but those rarely become diseases.

This unexpected resilience means that we can capture something in their biology in the form of a pill — or maybe one day as a gene therapy — for humans. “This is why I think they are so popular now,” Delaney said, “not only as a research model for cancer, but also as a research model for age-related diseases.” Whether popular or not, the real reward Still elusive.

Scientists think Find out what is adjusted in our biology to simulate the lifespan of a mole. Take cancer as an example. Moles are so good at avoiding cancer that researchers believe that their cells may contain protective molecules that can stop the mutant cells before they take over. For example, naked mole rat cells accumulate a large amount of a protein called p53, which is known to inhibit tumors.Last year, Bufenstein reported that they showed 10 times or more They are more stable in their connective tissues than in humans and mice.


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