Hairless, pink skinned, big toothed, wonder of the rodent world may hold the secret to longevity and some forms of cancer. Who is this wonder of the animal world? None other then the mole rat of the African desert.
Blind and spending its life underground this animal who’s family social structure more resembles the queen bee and her hive than a mammal family lives the longest of any rodent in the world.
Does the key to longevity reside in the animals ability to produce quality proteins that do not degrade as quickly or does keeping the proteins in top shape longer so the proteasomes (the cell’s protein trash recycling system) do not have as much work to do to recombine amino acids that made up the degraded proteins into new ones.
Scientists do not know yet if other animals that live a long and healthy life like soem birds like the parrot also havs the same recycling system, but will be researching these kindred long lived animals next.
Excerpts courtesy of http://www.uthscsa.edu/hscnews
Image from Natures Crusaders library