The Science magazine has named the naked mole rat as the Vertebrate of the Year. This crown was given owing to the research done by University of Rochester biologists Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov.
While they may not appreciate the crack about beauty contests, naked mole rats have carved out a reputation for healthy living.
They can last as long as 30 years and stay healthy right up to the end-and that includes never getting cancer. In fact, when naked mole rat cells are induced to form a tumor, the rodents stop the threat almost immediately.
Gorbunova said that the Vertebrate of the Year announcement is ultimately recognition that our work using unconventional animal models is on the same level as other top scientific developments in cancer research.
Gorbunova and Seluanov are currently trying to apply naked mole rat-like adaptations to mice in order to test whether that would boost longevity and resistance to cancer in that rodent.