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The Good Kind of Rat


Researchers have recently mapped the genome of the naked mole rat, an African rodent with an innate resistance to cancer, reports Bloomberg's Elizabeth Lopatto. The international team of researchers, which recently published its work in Nature, says that an analysis of the rodent's genome reveals it split from its mice and rat cousins about 73 million years ago, and can live about 10 times longer than they do. "The unusual traits of the creature, which lives in large ant-like colonies with a single breeding female or queen, together with its genomic information, offer new opportunities for understanding aging and other biological processes," particularly how it resists cancer, Lopatto says. And since 93 percent of the naked mole rat's genes are similar to mouse genes, researchers could implant naked mole rat genes into mice to determine how the creatures resist cancer, and whether those insights could benefit humans, she adds.

Cancer Minute's sister publication, GenomeWeb Daily News, has more on the naked mole rat genome here.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.