How Mammals Help Us Understand Our Diseases

Mammals are highly diverse animals, having evolved over millions of years to adapt to different environments and lifestyles. But did you know that their evolutionary history can also tell us about the origins of certain human diseases?

This is suggested by a study published in the journal Nature Communications, which analyzed the genome of 121 species of mammals, ranging from elephants to mice, including whales and bats. Researchers have identified regions of the genome that have undergone significant changes during evolution, and which are involved in biological processes related to human health.

For example, they found that marine mammals, such as dolphins and seals, have lost or changed genes involved in immune response and inflammation, which could explain their resistance to infection and injury. They also found that flying mammals, such as bats and hummingbirds, acquired or enhanced genes related to energy metabolism and DNA repair, which may contribute to their longevity and ability to fly. .

These results show that the evolution of mammals has shaped their genome according to their needs and their ecological constraints, but also that it has left traces that can help us understand the molecular mechanisms involved in certain human diseases. For example, researchers have identified genes associated with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, which have been lost or altered in certain mammals, which suggests that they could play a protective or deleterious role depending on the species.

The study therefore underlines the interest of comparing the genome of mammals to better understand our own biology and to identify new therapeutic targets. It also shows that biodiversity is a valuable source of information and that it is important to preserve it.

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