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The naked truth: a comprehensive clarification and classification of current 'myths' in naked mole-rat biology

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Item Type:Article
Title:The naked truth: a comprehensive clarification and classification of current 'myths' in naked mole-rat biology
Creators Name:Buffenstein, R. and Amoroso, V. and Andziak, B. and Avdieiev, S. and Azpurua, J. and Barker, A.J. and Bennett, N.C. and Brieño-Enríquez, M.A. and Bronner, G.N. and Coen, C. and Delaney, M.A. and Dengler-Crish, C.M. and Edrey, Y.H. and Faulkes, C.G. and Frankel, D. and Friedlander, G. and Gibney, P.A. and Gorbunova, V. and Hine, C. and Holmes, M.M. and Jarvis, J.U.M. and Kawamura, Y. and Kutsukake, N. and Kenyon, C. and Khaled, W.T. and Kikusui, T. and Kissil, J. and Lagestee, S. and Larson, J. and Lauer, A. and Lavrenchenko, L.A. and Lee, A. and Levitt, J.B. and Lewin, G.R. and Lewis Hardell, K.N. and Lin, T.D. and Mason, M.J. and McCloskey, D. and McMahon, M. and Miura, K. and Mogi, K. and Narayan, V. and O'Connor, T.P. and Okanoya, K. and O'Riain, M.J. and Park, T.J. and Place, N.J. and Podshivalova, K. and Pamenter, M.E. and Pyott, S.J. and Reznick, J. and Ruby, J.G. and Salmon, A.B. and Santos-Sacchi, J. and Sarko, D.K. and Seluanov, A. and Shepard, A. and Smith, M. and Storey, K.B. and Tian, X. and Vice, E.N. and Viltard, M. and Watarai, Ak. and Wywial, E. and Yamakawa, M. and Zemlemerova, E.D. and Zions, M. and Smith, E.S.J.
Abstract:The naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) has fascinated zoologists for at least half a century. It has also generated considerable biomedical interest not only because of its extraordinary longevity, but also because of unusual protective features (e.g. its tolerance of variable oxygen availability), which may be pertinent to several human disease states, including ischemia/reperfusion injury and neurodegeneration. A recent article entitled 'Surprisingly long survival of premature conclusions about naked mole-rat biology' described 28 'myths' which, those authors claimed, are a 'perpetuation of beautiful, but falsified, hypotheses' and impede our understanding of this enigmatic mammal. Here, we re-examine each of these 'myths' based on evidence published in the scientific literature. Following Braude et al., we argue that these 'myths' fall into four main categories: (i) 'myths' that would be better described as oversimplifications, some of which persist solely in the popular press; (ii) 'myths' that are based on incomplete understanding, where more evidence is clearly needed; (iii) 'myths' where the accumulation of evidence over the years has led to a revision in interpretation, but where there is no significant disagreement among scientists currently working in the field; (iv) 'myths' where there is a genuine difference in opinion among active researchers, based on alternative interpretations of the available evidence. The term 'myth' is particularly inappropriate when applied to competing, evidence-based hypotheses, which form part of the normal evolution of scientific knowledge. Here, we provide a comprehensive critical review of naked mole-rat biology and attempt to clarify some of these misconceptions.
Keywords:Longevity, Hypoxia, Cancer, Nociception, Eusociality, Thermoregulation, Ageing, Ecology, Animals, Mole-Rats
Source:Biological Reviews
Page Range:115-140
Date:February 2022
Official Publication:https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12791
PubMed:View item in PubMed

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