Bats as a Novel Model for Aging Research

Anja K. Brunet-Rossinni and Rocco E. Rossinni

Despite small body size and high metabolic rate, bats are exceptionally long-lived mammals. This longevity, the ecological, behavioral and morphological diversity, and the unique life history traits of this multispecied order of mammals make bats well-suited as model systems for aging research. Including bats in comparative investigations may provide insight into universal mechanisms of senescence as well as reveal mechanisms that confer resistance to expected senescent processes. In this chapter we provide a general description of this extraordinary order of mammals within the context of their potential use for aging research. We describe general methodologies including captive care, capturing and aging techniques as well as some of the health precautions researchers should observe when working with bats. We conclude with a brief summary of the current state of longevity and senescence research on bats and potential future lines of research. Probably most useful is a list of resources we have included, which can provide initial information and direction for researchers interested in using bats as a model system.

How to Stay Young

How to Stay Young

For centuries, ever since the legendary Ponce de Leon went searching for the elusive Fountain of Youth, people have been looking for ways to slow down the aging process. Medical science has made great strides in keeping people alive longer by preventing and curing disease, and helping people to live healthier lives. Average life expectancy keeps increasing, and most of us can look forward to the chance to live much longer lives than our ancestors.

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