Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bats may hold clues to long life and disease resistance

Date:
December 21, 2012
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
The genes of long-living and virus resistant bats may provide clues to the future treatment and prevention of infectious diseases and cancer in people, researchers have found.

Black flying-fox, Australia.
Credit: EcoView / Fotolia

Bats are amazing creatures. They've been around for at least 65 million years, and in that time have become one of the most abundant and widespread mammals on Earth.

The Bat Pack, a team of researchers at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong, conduct a wide range of research into bats and bat borne viruses, and their potential effects on the human population, as part of the effort to safeguard Australia from exotic and emerging pests and diseases.

Their paper, published today in the journal Science, provides an insight into the evolution of the bat's flight, resistance to viruses, and relatively long life.

The Bat Pack, in collaboration with the Beijing Genome Institute, led a team that sequenced the genomes of two bat species -- the Black Flying Fox, an Australian mega bat, and the David's Myotis, a Chinese micro bat.

Once the genomes were sequenced, they compared them to the genomes of other mammals, including humans, to find where the similarities and differences lay.

Chris Cowled, post-doctoral fellow at AAHL says the research may eventually lead to strategies to treat, or even prevent disease in humans.

"A deeper understanding of these evolutionary adaptations in bats may lead to better treatments for human diseases, and may eventually enable us to predict or perhaps even prevent outbreaks of emerging bat viruses," Dr Cowled said.

"Bats are a natural reservoir for several lethal viruses, such as Hendra, Ebola and SARS, but they often don't succumb to disease from these viruses. They're also the only mammal that can fly, and they live a long time compared to animals similar in size."

Flying is a very energy intensive activity that also produces toxic by-products, and bats have developed some novel genes to deal with the toxins. Some of these genes, including P53, are implicated in the development of cancer or the detection and repair of damaged DNA.

"What we found intriguing was that some of these genes also have secondary roles in the immune system," Dr Cowled said.

"We're proposing that the evolution of flight led to a sort of spill over effect, influencing not only the immune system, but also things like ageing and cancer."

The research was a global effort involving the Beijing Genome Institute in Shenzhen, China; Australia's national science research agency, the CSIRO; the University of Copenhagen; Wuhan Institute of Virology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences; the Naval Medical Research Center and Henry M. Jackson Foundation in the USA; Uniformed Services University, USA; and the Graduate Medical School at the Duke-National University of Singapore.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. G. Zhang, C. Cowled, Z. Shi, Z. Huang, K. A. Bishop-Lilly, X. Fang, J. W. Wynne, Z. Xiong, M. L. Baker, W. Zhao, M. Tachedjian, Y. Zhu, P. Zhou, X. Jiang, J. Ng, L. Yang, L. Wu, J. Xiao, Y. Feng, Y. Chen, X. Sun, Y. Zhang, G. A. Marsh, G. Crameri, C. C. Broder, K. G. Frey, L.-F. Wang, J. Wang. Comparative Analysis of Bat Genomes Provides Insight into the Evolution of Flight and Immunity. Science, 2012; DOI: 10.1126/science.1230835

Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "Bats may hold clues to long life and disease resistance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121221114114.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2012, December 21). Bats may hold clues to long life and disease resistance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121221114114.htm
CSIRO Australia. "Bats may hold clues to long life and disease resistance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121221114114.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
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