Scientists from two institutes of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have established that the legendary longevity of the rodent living in Africa, the naked digger (Heterocephalus glaber), may be due to its unique DNA repair (reparation) system, the Siberian Science Siberia edition reports on Friday.
Scientists have long been trying to uncover the mystery of a naked digger living in East Africa, whose average life expectancy is nearly 30 years, while an ordinary mouse has a year and a half. It has been established that with age it does not reveal changes inherent in aging, appearance and reproductive function do not change. In addition, it is insensitive to chemical or radiological effects, little susceptible to the formation of cancer. In terms of human longevity, a bare digger lives 600 years.
Researchers from the Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have compared how a nuclear extract of the cells of the body’s connective tissue (fibroblasts) of a naked digger and mouse reacts to ultraviolet radiation generating DNA damage. Then, the activity of DNA recovery in the digger and mouse was investigated.
“We found that the repair activity of damaged bases and nucleotides in the cells of a naked digger is much higher than in mouse cells. We believe that effective repair may be responsible for the fact that the rodent lives for so long,” the message in the laboratory of bioorganic chemistry enzymes IHBFM SB RAS Olga Lavrik.
Scientists hope that further research on DNA repair in naked diggers will help find new ways to rid man of cancer and diseases associated with aging, as well as increase the duration and quality of life.
Bare Digger is a small burrowing rodent of the Excavator family, having no thick hair with a body length of 8-10 centimeters. The species is distinguished by unique features for mammals: a complex social organization of the colony, a weak susceptibility to external stimuli, and also the fact that its organism does not age at all. The habitat of the naked digger is East Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia).