With a 30-year life span, naked mole rats are the longest living of rodents, if also perhaps the least pleasant looking. (True, it’s a low bar.) The secret to their longevity? Near-perfect protein construction, reported The Science Recorder. Researchers discovered that RNA in naked mole rats has a unique structure that greatly reduces the frequency of errors common in rodent proteins. “Proteins with no aberrations help the body to function more efficiently,” said Andrei Seluanov, a biologist at the University of Rochester.
The scientists now want to try recreating the RNA peculiarity in mice, with an eye toward eventually bettering protein synthesis in humans. Others noted that longevity isn’t the only reason to take interest in the naked mole rat: The animals have an immunity to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which may also stem from their sturdy proteins.