A resilient rodent from the horn of Africa is proving to be a biological wonder and a new source of scientific inquiry.
Able to live up to 30 years, these 3 to 4 inch East African critters are being used to study everything from strokes to cancer to aging in hopes that scientists might find new insights into human health complications.
At the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, researcher Rochelle Buffenstein is responsible for tending a 1,500-member-strong mole rat colony that makes its abode in series of large clear tanks connected by long transparent tubes. Though the San Antonio colony is by far the largest in the U.S., a number of other universities around the country have begun founding their own mole rat communities for research purposes.
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