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Naked mole rats may hold secret to longevity

Jonathan Marker | Science Recorder | October 02, 2013

Naked mole rats may hold secret to longevity

The biologists hope that their work will result in pharmaceutical treatments that control protein synthesis in humans.

A September 30 report from the University of Rochester, New York, offered an interesting explanation for the longevity of naked mole rats which, with a lifespan of 30 years, makes the animal the world’s longest-living rodent: more robustly constructed proteins.  The results of the study, conducted by Rochester biologists Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov, appear in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Proteins are essential to the survival of all organisms, as they are involved in virtually all functions of an animal cell.  However, proteins must fold into the appropriate shapes that allow them to connect and to interact with other cellular structures.  In the naked mole rat, that process leads to near-perfect protein production.

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