New research suggests that naked mole rats have the lowest mortality rate in all mammal species and don’t seem to age at all. Scientists found that the tiny animals’ early death rate is one in 10,000 since they seem to defy a common law which ties aging to a higher mortality risk.
The study was published in the journal eLife.
Scientists at the US-based Calico Life Sciences LLC praised the furless rat for its good genes and ability to somehow stave off aging. The tiny animal, which is also called the desert mole or sand puppy, is usually found in East Africa.
Most rats live just four years, but the naked mole rats’ lifespan stretches to 30 years. Mole rats also seem to be immune to oxygen deprivation and cancer.
In their research, study authors kept an eye on more than 3,000 naked mole rats. The birth and death dates of the rodents were recorded. Each rat had a separate file which showed if it died in an experiment or it was donated.
Naked Mole Rats Show No Signs of Aging
The naked mole rats peak sexually at the age of six months. But their early death risk stood abysmally low for the rest of their lives. They didn’t display any sign of disease or afflictions that other mammals go through as they age.
Researchers are now trying to figure out why these rodents live so long and so healthy. They speculate that the animals’ DNA may have a higher repair rate due to high amounts of molecular chaperones.
Molecular chaperones give the DNA its flexibility. Researchers, though, think they need more research before they can reach a conclusion.
In a follow-up study, scientists could better understand the processes behind longevity. The data could also enable them to find new ways of enhancing survival rates. A delayed-aging mechanism in the rats’ systems could largely explain why they can outlive their cousins by decades.
Image Source: Twitter