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.

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