Rodent's genome reveals secrets of surviving underground
Blind mole-rats aren’t exactly lookers. But the long-lived subterranean rodents do have other charms, including pronounced abilities to fight cancer (SN: 12/15/12, p. 12) and withstand low levels of oxygen and high levels of carbon dioxide.
Now, an international group of researchers has compiled the animal’s genetic instruction book, giving a glimpse into how the rodents perform these feats. The genome of the blind mole-rat, Spalax galili contains more than 22,000 genes, the team reports June 3 in Nature Communications. That’s about the same number of genes as humans have.