Deprived of oxygen, naked mole-rats can survive by metabolizing fructose just as plants do, researchers report this week in the journal Science.
“This is just the latest remarkable discovery about the naked mole-rat — a cold-blooded mammal that lives decades longer than other rodents, rarely gets cancer, and doesn’t feel many types of pain,” says Thomas Park, professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who led an international team of researchers from UIC, the Max Delbrück Institute in Berlin and the University of Pretoria in South Africa on the study.
In humans, laboratory mice, and all other known mammals, when brain cells are starved of oxygen they run out of energy and begin to die.
But naked mole-rats have a backup: their brain cells start burning fructose, which produces energy anaerobically through a metabolic pathway that is only used by plants — or so scientists thought. Paper. (paywall) – Thomas J. Park, Jane Reznick, Bethany L. Peterson, Gregory Blass, Damir Omerbašić, Nigel C. Bennett, P. Henning J. L. Kuich, Christin Zasada, Brigitte M. Browe, Wiebke Hamann, Daniel T. Applegate, Michael H. Radke, Tetiana Kosten, Heike Lutermann, Victoria Gavaghan, Ole Eigenbrod, Valérie Bégay, Vince G. Amoroso, Vidya Govind, Richard D. Minshall, Ewan St. J. Smith, John Larson, Michael Gotthardt, Stefan Kempa, Gary R. Lewin. Fructose-driven glycolysis supports anoxia resistance in the naked mole-rat. Science, 2017; 356 (6335): 307 DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3896More.
One of two thing is possible: All animals at one time had this capacity to burn fructose and the rest of us devolved so as to lose it. Or the naked mole rat independently evolved ths capacity via Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutation) in an apparently impossibly short period of time. Or…
A Darwinian conception of evolution cannot be correct, given the pace of discovery of these types of anomalies. It is not a good sign if scientists are marchin’, marchin’ to defend that conception. More like a sign of weakness, as is all the talk of post-this and post-that in science.
The researchers add, “The naked mole-rat is the only known mammal to use suspended animation to survive oxygen deprivation.” It won’t help if there are a few others because, whether they are near to this rat or far off, the problem of how the mechanism evolved will not be simplified.
See also: Early bird had usually high metabolism rate, even for a bird So, greatly differing metabolism rates could be found in birds of the era. There does not seem to have been a long, slow march of birds to fast metabolism.
Devolution: Getting back to the simple life
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