According to a recent study in San Francisco on October 17th, bat genes might have the capacity to unlock new ways to battle COVID-19 and Cancer. The study, which was published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution, was based on the bat’s ability to first host and then survive infectious germs like Cancer & COVID-19.
The experiment was done by scientists at a US-based Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The study sequenced the different genomes of the ‘Mesoamerican mustached bat’ and ‘Jamaican fruit bat.’ Then, these studies were compared with other mammals. According to the final study, it is the rapid evolution of the bat gene that helps the body defend against cancer & infection.
“We were unaware that genes related to the immune system in bat genomes had undergone such strong positive selection. Bats possess several unique characteristics, including a distinct response to infections like Covid 19 compared to humans. Looking back, it’s not unexpected that these immune system differences might play a role in both the aging process and the way bats respond to cancer,” explained Professor W. Richard McCombie of CSHL. (Source)
The two bat sequences that were picked for the study belong to the most ecologically diverse superfamily of mammals, making the quick evolution all the more fascinating.
Scientists of the CSHL also studied 15 more sequences in order to compare them to the bat. This revealed an uncanny shift in two inflammatory protein-coding called omega and interferon alpha.
“We didn’t have prior knowledge of the significant positive selection of immune system genes in bat genomes. Bats exhibit various distinctive traits, such as their unconventional response to infections in contrast to humans. With hindsight, it’s not surprising that these variations in the immune system could be connected to both the aging process and the bat’s response to cancer,” Professor W. Richard McCombie of CSHL elaborated.