Though Ron and Kim know how unique naked mole rats are, or at least one in particular, the rest of us might not know anything about them. National Public Radio had a report yesterday about the completion of the genetic code for the naked mole rat. You can listen to the report and read it on the NPR site, but here's some of the highlights:

  • Naked mole rats are cold-blooded, yet still mammals.
  • They don't get cancer.
  • They don't feel certain types of pain.
  • They can live in low oxygen areas, like the tunnels they normally live in.
  • They live for around 30 years.

So, now that the genome is mapped, what do they do with that info? Apply it to cancer and aging research, or other things like put genes in mices for study.

Check out the picture on the NPR page. I have to admit that Rufus is definitely cuter, but I can kind of see how the scientists could find them interesting.