arnab gupta

More on the Naked Mole Rat

October 12, 2013

I’ve written about the naked mole rat before, about how it seems to be immune to acid.

Well, it turns out it has more tricks up its genetic sleeve.

To compare how the naked mole rat made their proteins, they inserted an engineered gene in the naked mole rat as well as in mice, which allowed them to compare the rate of errors in making proteins. And here’s what they found:

[The naked mole rat] built the engineered protein far more accurately, in other words. Naked mole rats, the scientists found, made anywhere from four to ten times fewer mistakes. Yet the naked mole rats can make their proteins as quickly as the sloppier mice.

This seems to be a fascinating creature the more we study it!

I wonder, though, why other species did not pick up this brilliant piece of evolution. Are there side effects to this that are detrimental, overall, to other species but which don’t affect the naked mole rat? As I said in my earlier post, intriguing.

(Original source, quoted by National Geographic: Jorge Azpurua et al.“Naked mole-rat has increased translational fidelity compared with the mouse, as well as a unique 28S ribosomal RNA cleavage.” PNAS 2013