It’s Official: Naked Mole Rats Are Superior To Humans October 27, 2009Posted by Matt Brown in Weird.
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In one of the weirder stories I’ve come across scientists have apparently discovered to mechanism behind the naked mole rat’s fascinating ability. What is that ability, you ask? Naked mole rats are incapable of getting cancer, or at least that seems to be the case as they have never been observed to have it. Now scientists think they have found out why.
According to the story:
The findings, presented in today’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that the mole rat’s cells express a gene called p16 that makes the cells “claustrophobic,” stopping the cells’ proliferation when too many of them crowd together, cutting off runaway growth before it can start. The effect of p16 is so pronounced that when researchers mutated the cells to induce a tumor, the cells’ growth barely changed, whereas regular mouse cells became fully cancerous.
The next step of course is to isolate the gene and see if we can’t find a way to splice it into humans. Just be careful though. Mess around with the genes of a mole rat an you could end up looking like this.