Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Globetrotting Black Rat Genes Reveal Spread Of Humans And Diseases

Date:
February 6, 2008
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
DNA of the common black rat has shed light on the ancient spread of rats, people and diseases around the globe. Studying the mitochondrial DNA of 165 black rat specimens from 32 countries around the world, a scientists have identified six distinct lineages in the black rat's family tree, each originating from a different part of Asia.

Black rat.
Credit: Image courtesy of CSIRO Australia

DNA of the common Black Rat has shed light on the ancient spread of rats, people and diseases around the globe. Studying the mitochondrial DNA of 165 Black Rat specimens from 32 countries around the world, an international team of scientists has identified six distinct lineages in the Black Rat’s family tree, each originating from a different part of Asia.

“Black Rats are carriers of many different human diseases, including plague, typhus and leptospirosis,” says CSIRO mammal expert Dr Ken Aplin, lead author of the study.

“It has been unclear why certain rodent-borne diseases are more common in some places than others, but our work raises the possibility that the different lineages of Black Rats each carry a different set of diseases, which is something medical science now needs to consider.

“We need to know more about what types of Black Rats are moving around the world and what disease risks each of them might pose.”

The six different lineages originated in India, East Asia, the Himalayas, Thailand, the Mekong Delta, and Indonesia.

The Indian lineage spread to the Middle-East around 20,000 years ago, then later to Europe. It reached Africa, the Americas and Australia during the Age of Exploration. The East Asian lineage moved from Taiwan to Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia, arriving in Micronesia only 3,500 years ago.

The other four lineages have not become so widespread but they could be set to expand their ranges in the future.

“Our findings also show a good match between the historic spread of each lineage and ancient routes of human migration and trade, but there are a few surprises that raise new questions about human prehistory,” Dr Aplin says.

“The genetic evidence points strongly to there being more than one species of black rat, but more work is needed before we can say exactly how many species there are.”

The Black Rat (Rattus rattus)is one of the most common of the world’s 56 Rattus species, and is also known as the house, roof or ship rat. It is found throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas.

Dr Aplin will present the results of his team’s research at the Archaeological Science Conference in Canberra on February 4, 2008.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "Globetrotting Black Rat Genes Reveal Spread Of Humans And Diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080201093354.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2008, February 6). Globetrotting Black Rat Genes Reveal Spread Of Humans And Diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080201093354.htm
CSIRO Australia. "Globetrotting Black Rat Genes Reveal Spread Of Humans And Diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080201093354.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins