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How Bat Genomes Could Help Make You Healthy

Though they can rapidly spread pathogens that afflict humans, bats somehow avoid getting sick from viruses like Ebola, SARS, and other deadly bugs. A new genetic analysis of two very different bat species shows how the animals avoid disease, and live exceptionally long lives.

The team sequenced the genomes of a huge fruit bat and a tiny insectivorous bat and found both were missing a gene segment that can cause extreme immune reactions to infection.

But bats are not immune to everything. Millions of North American bats have perished from a fungal infection known as white-nose syndrome, which rouses the animals from their winter slumbers and causes them to starve.

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