You may be wondering why bats are immune to so many viruses including coronaviruses, one of which is in the forefront of our minds at the moment. It is because they can stop the virus hijacking their DNA.
There had been a number of interesting papers on bat immunity recently which were covered in recent newsletters newsletters.
Indeed the keynote speaker at the 2019 Bat Conservation Trust’s National conference was Professor Emma Teeling of University College of Dublin who looked at why bats were so long lived. She found that Bats had evolved an elegant solution to changes in the genetic material with age. This was mind blowing stuff.
I was all set to paraphrase what she said when I found this article she had written for Nature.
This was such a clear and lively account that I quoted it wholesale ( i.e. stole it). It gives a brilliant introduction to what bat research is like ” my one piece of advice to any one embarking on a project like this is that good food and wine break down any barrier!” a woman after the Bedfordshire Bat and Cake Club’s heart. (No wine for us when we are trapping!
She is a really entertaining speaker and her Ted talk on The Secret of the Bat Genome
It lasts 16 minutes and assumes no prior knowledge of bats, so the first eight minutes are spent introducing bat and their importance. She then gets down to the bat genome,
“The secret of everlasting life lies in the bat genome”