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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