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Nat Commun. 2014 Jun 3;5:3966. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4966.

Genome-wide adaptive complexes to underground stresses in blind mole rats Spalax.

Author information

1
1] BGI-Tech, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China [2] Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark.
2
Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel.
3
BGI-Tech, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China.
4
The Mina & Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan 5290002, Israel.
5
1] Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark [2] China National GeneBank, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China.
6
Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3DA, UK.
7
Tauber Bioinformatics Research Center, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel.
8
Institute of Molecular Genetics, Johannes Gutenberg University, 55099 Mainz, Germany.
9
Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.
10
1] BGI-Tech, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China [2] Department of Computer Science, City University of Hong Kong, 83 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
11
Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.
12
China National GeneBank, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China.
13
Department of Cell Stress Biology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York 14263, USA.
14
1] Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Edmond and Lily Safra Children's Hospital and Sheba Cancer Research Center, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer 52662, Israel [2] Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.
15
Department of Animal Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Korea.
16
Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.
17
1] Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA [2] Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.
18
Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.
19
School of Physics and Astronomy, Maguy-Glass Chair in Physics of Complex Systems, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.
20
School of Computer Science & State Key Laboratory of High Performance Computing, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410073, China.
21
Department of Computer Science, City University of Hong Kong, 83 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
22
Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark.
23
1] Tauber Bioinformatics Research Center, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel [2] Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel.
24
1] BGI-Tech, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China [2] Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark [3] Princess Al Jawhara Center of Excellence in the Research of Hereditary Disorders, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21441, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

The blind mole rat (BMR), Spalax galili, is an excellent model for studying mammalian adaptation to life underground and medical applications. The BMR spends its entire life underground, protecting itself from predators and climatic fluctuations while challenging it with multiple stressors such as darkness, hypoxia, hypercapnia, energetics and high pathonecity. Here we sequence and analyse the BMR genome and transcriptome, highlighting the possible genomic adaptive responses to the underground stressors. Our results show high rates of RNA/DNA editing, reduced chromosome rearrangements, an over-representation of short interspersed elements (SINEs) probably linked to hypoxia tolerance, degeneration of vision and progression of photoperiodic perception, tolerance to hypercapnia and hypoxia and resistance to cancer. The remarkable traits of the BMR, together with its genomic and transcriptomic information, enhance our understanding of adaptation to extreme environments and will enable the utilization of BMR models for biomedical research in the fight against cancer, stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

PMID:
24892994
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms4966
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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