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Dr. Emma Teeling, the Director of the Centre for Irish Bat Research, explains her research in using the mammal in hopes of discovering the key to long life in her key to longevity keynote.
Having existed on Earth for over four million years bats are one of the few species than can perform flight; the other two being birds and pterodactyls. While these creatures have been demonized in Western culture as vampires and omens of chaos, Teeling believes that it will the bats’ genomes that are the key to extending human life and curing certain hereditary diseases.
That bats’ ability to fly, despite the metabolic stress caused by it, is one of the key aspects Dr. Teeling’s lab is researching. While it is common for animals to “live fast, die young,” as she describes, bats are the opposite and tend to be unaffected by the excess strain on its bodies caused by their unique ability. By looking into the genomes of the nocturnal mammal and carefully isolating the the cause for this unusual longevity, Teeling hopes to be able to not only increase the lifespan of humans but their overall health as well.