Monday, January 29, 2018

O, to be a Naked Mole Rat

They rarely get cancer, are resistant to some types of pain, and can survive up to 18 minutes without oxygen. But it looks like aging is not a problem, or so a recent study says. The study analyzed the life histories of thousands of naked mole rats and found that their risk of death doesn't go up as they grow older, as it does for every other known mammalian species. One of the investigators says, "At advanced ages, their mortality rate remains lower than any other mammal that has been documented.”

Captive mice live about four years. Based on their size, naked mole rats would not be expected to live past 6 years. But some live beyond 30 years, and even at that age breeding females stay fertile. The study found that each naked mole rat’s daily chance of dying was a little more than one in 10,000. 

However, the study could be biased, as most animals were either killed or moved to other labs, fewer than 50 animals in the study lived past 15 years of age. The oldest animal currently living in the lab is 35.

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