Naked diggers, unusually long-lived rodents, do not age because they fall into an endless childhood, biologists say from the Moscow State University in an article published in the journal Physiological Reviews.
“We managed to prove that the biological evolution of two socially highly organized creatures, people and naked diggers, led to a slowing down of the aging program through so-called neoteny, prolongation of the youth period,” says Academician Vladimir Skulachev, Dean of the Faculty of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics at Moscow State University.
The naked digger (Heterocephalus glaber) is a unique mammal with many amazing properties. This hairless, underground rodent, about the size of a mouse and weighing 30-50 grams, lives in eastern Africa. In the 1970s, scientists discovered that these creatures live unusually long for their size, tens of times longer than normal. In addition, they are almost not susceptible to cancer. Diggers almost do not feel pain and do not react to skin irritation when they come in contact with caustic acids.
In the autumn of last year, the Biological Faculty of Moscow State University. M.V. Lomonosov created the first colony in Russia of naked diggers of 25 individuals, on the basis of which a group of scientists led by Academician Skulachev began to study the secrets of the longevity of these animals. The first conclusions were presented in a scientific article in which scientists analyzed the factors driving the evolution of man and naked diggers.
As noted by Skulachev and his colleagues, the alternation of generations and the death of older individuals are the main engines of evolution for most animals. This is not the case for diggers and humans – we abandoned biological evolution in favor of technological progress, and naked diggers withdrew from this “cycle of life and death” thanks to the unique social structure of their colonies, where only two individuals multiply from several dozen members of one “family” .
The end product of these changes, according to biologists from Moscow State University, is the so-called neoteny. Figuratively speaking, the diggers “do not grow up” and preserve their childish features throughout their entire life. According to Skulachev, his team managed to identify 43 signs of neoteny in anatomy, biochemistry and brain work of diggers that are absent in rats and other rodents.
For example, nephrons navigators retain plasticity throughout their life and behave like cells of newborns. In this case, the animals themselves grow very slowly and mature, their bones retain a high density and mass throughout their life, oxidants and other dangerous molecules slowly form in their body. In addition, the probability of dying for these animals remains constant for at least 25 years of life. This suggests that diseases affect them equally equally in young as well as in the “elderly” age.
What is most interesting, neoteny, although in a less pronounced form, is typical for a person. For example, the shape of our skull and the whole anatomy of the body changes little as the body grows. Monkeys’ cubs are more reminiscent of their kind of people than monkeys. Accordingly, it can be expected that in the future evolution will make people look like naked diggers.
“If aging is a program, then it can be slowed down, and this possibility has already been partially realized through natural selection, but we humans have long relied on the” turtle “evolution rate. We use the achievements of technical progress to solve our problems, and has come It’s time to apply it against aging, “continues Skulachev.
Part of these problems, as the academician argues, can be solved with the help of substances that slow the aging of individual components of the human body. For example, recently his team tested the work of the substance SkQ1, which slows the destruction of mitochondria. It is proved that the substance prolongs life for mice suffering from premature aging. Perhaps the discovery of other substances that suppress oxidants and aggressive molecules, will achieve the same effect that is available to naked diggers from nature.
Original: Российские биологи раскрыли секрет вечной молодости “голых землекопов”