Flight genes may explain bats' remarkable disease resistance

01/25/2013 | Gizmag

Bats have the capacity to survive infection with deadly zoonotic pathogens such as Ebola, Hendra, Nipah and SARS, something that could be explained by their ability to fly, according to the results of a recent genetic study. The genes involved in flight appear to have the added benefit of conferring disease resistance and longevity, the authors suggest, and delving into this line of research may one day help humans with illnesses including infectious disease and cancer. "The majority of new diseases in humans come from animals and the viruses that come from bats are the most deadly of all," said researcher Chris Cowled.

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