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Mole rats live up to three times longer than similar species and tend to stay healthy up until the end. Now researchers believe they may be closer to knowing why.
It only makes sense that to unlock the secrets of living a long, healthy life one would examine something that does.
Enter one of science’s new favorite sources for longevity studies, the naked mole rat.
One look and it’s clear the rat wasn’t picked for its stunning good looks.
What it does have is unbelievable staying power.
Naked mole rats can live about ten times longer than similar species and tend to stay healthy up until the end. Further, the rodent is pretty much impervious to cancer.
According to researchers, it’s all about the ribosome RNA, which mole rats have more of than most other animals.
Their extra helping aids in the creation of more perfect proteins and fewer waste ones.
Waste happens when ribosomes incorporate the wrong amino acids while creating proteins. Sometimes the body can recycle the mistakes, but as it ages that process become more difficult and ultimately the mistakes become detrimental.
So, in short, they have less junk floating around to clog up the works. Too much junk has been associated with age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The researchers hope to use these findings in future endeavors, like the development of protein-production influencing drugs.