Looking to Bats for Clues to Longevity

Looking to Bats for Clues to Longevity

New insights into what gives one bat species a long life span could offer clues to helping people live longer, scientists say.

Mental Health Does Not Come With A Manual, It Comes With Friends & Family Support That Never Gives Up!
Join now

European researchers analyzed DNA from about 500 wild bats from four species. Their focus was on telomeres, the protective structures on the end of chromosomes.

In humans and most other animals, telomeres shorten with age, causing aging-related breakdown of cells that lead to tissue deterioration and ultimately death.

That's not the case with Myotis, the longest-lived species of bat. Compared to the other bat species, telomeres in this mouse-eared bat don't shorten with age, according to the study authors.

To determine how these little brown bats maintain their telomeres, the researchers examined the animals' genomes -- their complete set of genes. The researchers compared them with those of 52 other mammals, focusing on 225 genes associated with the maintenance of telomeres.

"Our results suggest that long-lived bats have evolved better mechanisms to prevent and repair age-induced cellular damage," said study senior author Emma Teeling.

In particular, two genes -- ATM and SETX -- may drive this, said Teeling, a professor at University College Dublin in Ireland.

It appears that the bats may have evolved a unique process to lengthen their chromosomes without inducing cancer, she noted in a university news release.

Teeling said these are new results "that we need to further explore to uncover how bats can remain healthy as time passes."

The Internet's Most Trusted Source For Mental Health Information
Sign up

The findings are the first step in understanding the molecular mechanisms behind this bat species' long life spans, according to the researchers. They hope they'll eventually point to ways to slow aging in humans and extend human life spans.

The findings were published Feb. 7 in the journal Science Advances.

More information

The American Federation for Aging Research has more on the biology of aging.


Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Related Content

Freedom From OCD: An Original Series on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Freedom From OCD: An Original Series on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

It is estimated over 1.2% of the adult population wrestles with Obsessive-Compul...

Read more
Freedom From OCD - Official Trailer
Freedom From OCD - Official Trailer

An original 6-episode series on obsessive-compulsive disorder, available instant...

Read more
A Young Mother's Addiction Led To Death & Her Obituary Struck An International Chord
A Young Mother's Addiction Led To Death & Her Obituary Struck An International Chord

Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir died on Sunday, October 7. While her death was unexpect...

Read more
Why Are Children In Class Being Wrongly Labelled As Having ADHD So Frequently?
Why Are Children In Class Being Wrongly Labelled As Having ADHD So Frequently?

Parents worried about their child falling behind academically because they are b...

Read more
The Real Causes Of Anxiety & Depression Might Not Be What You Think
The Real Causes Of Anxiety & Depression Might Not Be What You Think

Across the Western world today, if you are depressed or anxious and you go to yo...

Read more
Companies Are Opening Their Doors To Talent With Autism
Companies Are Opening Their Doors To Talent With Autism

Twenty-seven-year-old Christopher Pauley thought he had it all figured out when ...

Read more