Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genome sequencing unlocks the mysteries of naked mole rat

Date:
October 12, 2011
Source:
Beijing Genomics Institute
Summary:
An international team of researchers from Korea, China and the U.S. has, for the first time, demonstrated the physiology and longevity of the naked mole rats (NMR) in terms of genomics and transcriptomics. The results provide an excellent opportunity to better understand the unique traits of naked mole rats and advance its use in biological and biomedical studies.

BGI, the world's largest genomic organization, announced that an international team of researchers from Korea, China and the U.S. has, for the first time, demonstrated the physiology and longevity of the naked mole rats (NMR) in terms of genomics and transcriptomics. The results, published online in the journal Nature, provide an excellent opportunity to better understand the unique traits of naked mole rats and advance its use in biological and biomedical studies.

With its wrinkled skin and double-saber buck teeth, the naked mole rat may not be among the most beautiful animals, but they are exceptional in other ways. They are the longest-lived rodent known till now and are exceptionally resistant to cancer; they can live in full darkness, at low oxygen and high carbon dioxide concentrations; and they are unable to sustain thermogenesis or feel certain types of pain. These unique features make naked mole rats particularly attractive to scientists as emerging models for research on aging and cancer, as well as other biological activities or conditions (e.g. metabolic regulation, development, pain and behavior).

In this study, researchers utilized the whole-genome shotgun (WGS) sequencing strategy and next-generation sequencing system to sequence the genome of an individual male naked mole rat. The NMR genome is approximately 2.6 Gb, and the predicted NMR gene set includes 22,561 genes. By sequencing the genome, the researchers demonstrated that the ancestor of NMR split from the ancestors of mice and rats about 73 million years ago, and 93% of the NMR genome shows synteny to human, mouse or rat genomes. Utilizing comparative transcriptome analysis, some genes related to anti-aging and adaptation to a low oxygen environment were identified based on the different expression levels of NMR transcripts between different age groups and at exposure to different levels of oxygen concentration.

The researchers made further investigation and found several important genes related to the exceptional traits of NMR. The stable gene expression of TERT and other genes, regardless of age, may be related to NMR's longevity mechanism. In addition, the unusual regulatory involvement of tumor suppressor p16Ink4a and p19Arf may be the key factor in NMR's cancer resistance, and mutation in the specificity of HIF1a and VHL may contribute to NMR's high tolerance to a low oxygen environment. At least 10% of the approximately 200 genes associated with visual perception in humans and mice were found to be inactivated or missing in NMR, implicating that NMR's poor visual function may be caused by the deterioration of genes coding for various critical components of the visual system.

The genomic information of NMR provides a rich resource for researchers working in aging, cancer, eusociality and many other areas. The data can be mined in numerous ways to uncover the molecular basis for the extraordinary traits of this most unusual mammal. To achieve a more comprehensive insight into NMR's exceptional traits, the international team will continue to explore the molecular mechanisms of anti-aging, anti-cancer, adaptation to low oxygen environment and eusociality, with approaches of comparative genomics, comparative transcriptomics, and comparative methylation.

"The NMR genome will play an important role in functional studies of NMR, which also will provide unprecedented opportunities for exploring some of the most challenging questions in biology and medicine," stated Xiaodong Fang, Leader of non-model organisms group at BGI and the co-leading author of the study. "We believe that NMR will become a new model in biological and biomedical research in the near future."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Eun Bae Kim, Xiaodong Fang, Alexey A. Fushan, Zhiyong Huang, Alexei V. Lobanov, Lijuan Han, Stefano M. Marino, Xiaoqing Sun, Anton A. Turanov, Pengcheng Yang, Sun Hee Yim, Xiang Zhao, Marina V. Kasaikina, Nina Stoletzki, Chunfang Peng, Paz Polak, Zhiqiang Xiong, Adam Kiezun, Yabing Zhu, Yuanxin Chen, Gregory V. Kryukov, Qiang Zhang, Leonid Peshkin, Lan Yang, Roderick T. Bronson, Rochelle Buffenstein, Bo Wang, Changlei Han, Qiye Li, Li Chen, Wei Zhao, Shamil R. Sunyaev, Thomas J. Park, Guojie Zhang, Jun Wang, Vadim N. Gladyshev. Genome sequencing reveals insights into physiology and longevity of the naked mole rat. Nature, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nature10533

Cite This Page:

Beijing Genomics Institute. "Genome sequencing unlocks the mysteries of naked mole rat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111012132657.htm>.
Beijing Genomics Institute. (2011, October 12). Genome sequencing unlocks the mysteries of naked mole rat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111012132657.htm
Beijing Genomics Institute. "Genome sequencing unlocks the mysteries of naked mole rat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111012132657.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! Video provided by Buzz60
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:

More Coverage


Naked Mole Rat Genome Sequenced: San Antonio Colony of Long-Lived Rodents Contributes to Study

Oct. 12, 2011 Sequencing the genome of the long-lived naked mole rat opens a "treasure trove" of information to scientists. An international team now reports the completed naked mole rat genome ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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