Camels’ number of humps may affect their fat storage

dromedary camel

Studying the genome of dromedary camels shows the adaptations they've developed to survive in the African desert.

The Camelid Genome Project


The number of humps camels and alpacas have may play a role in how well they store and break down fat. A comparison of the animals’ genomes shows that the genes associated with energy use evolved more quickly in humped camels than in non-humped alpacas. There are even differences between double-humped bactrian camels and single-humped dromedary camels, hinting that the animals’ fat metabolisms may be influenced by their hump number, researchers report October 21 in Nature Communications.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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