Some bats can live for up to 41 years, and many have a very healthy life. Professor and researcher Emma Teeling studies bats to learn more about the molecular mechanisms underlying their longevity. Hear more about her work from this video, by University College Dublin.
Earlier this year her research team published work in Science Advances that focused on telomeres, protective caps that sit on the ends of chromosomes. These structures have been linked to longevity. Teeling’s work showed that in long-lived bats, telomeres did not shorten. The team found that two bat genes called ATM and SETX may help bats repair or prevent damage to the cell, and bats may have a way to lengthen telomeres.