Skip to main content

comparative genomics

Creative Minds: Path to Longevity May Start With … Bats and Mole Rats!

Posted on by

Images of the animals and DNA

Caption: DNA studies are unraveling the secrets of these mammals (clockwise from top left): naked mole rat, bowhead whale, and Brandt’s bat.
Credit: Clockwise from top left: Smithsonian’s National Zoo; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Vadim Gladyshev; National Human Genome Genome Research Institute, NIH

It started simply, with the analysis of a trace element in proteins. It led, through recognizing and following provocative patterns, to one of humanity’s greatest questions: what is the secret to a long life?

This intriguing scientific path, traveled by NIH Pioneer Awardee Vadim Gladyshev, has brought together an assortment of mammals, great and small. It has relied upon a veritable global treasure-hunt, with samples from Russian caves, East African tunnels, and Arctic oceans. It was Gladyshev’s scientific acumen that mapped this path. And it is comparative genomic analysis that provided the vehicle he has used to travel along it – right up to the threshold of new insights into healthier, longer life.