The naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a strictly subterranean, extraordinarily long-lived eusocial mammal1. Although it is the size of a mouse, its maximum lifespan exceeds 30 years, making this animal the longest-living rodent. Naked mole rats show negligible senescence, no age-related increase in mortality, and high fecundity until death2. In addition to delayed ageing, they are resistant to both spontaneous cancer and experimentally induced tumorigenesis3, 4. Naked mole rats pose a challenge to the theories that link ageing, cancer and redox homeostasis. Although characterized by significant oxidative stress5, the naked mole rat proteome does not show age-related susceptibility to oxidative damage or increased ubiquitination6. Naked mole rats naturally reside in large colonies with a single breeding female, the ‘queen’, who suppresses the sexual maturity of her subordinates7. They also live in full darkness, at low oxygen and high carbon dioxide concentrations8, and are unable to sustain thermogenesis9 nor feel certain types of pain10, 11. Here we report the sequencing and analysis of the naked mole rat genome, which reveals unique genome features and molecular adaptations consistent with cancer resistance, poikilothermy, hairlessness and insensitivity to low oxygen, and altered visual function, circadian rythms and taste sensing. This information provides insights into the naked mole rat’s exceptional longevity and ability to live in hostile conditions, in the dark and at low oxygen. The extreme traits of the naked mole rat, together with the reported genome and transcriptome information, offer opportunities for understanding ageing and advancing other areas of biological and biomedical research.
At a glance
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- Supplementary Information (6.9M)
The file contains Supplementary Text, Supplementary Figures 1-30 with legends, Supplementary Tables 1-11, 14-15, 18-20, 24 (see separate zip file for tables 12, 14, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23 and 25-31) and additional references (see page 1 for content).
- Supplementary Tables (929K)
The zip file contains Supplementary Tables 12, 13, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23 and 25-31.