Mole rats are popular creatures found in many fairy tales.
But naked mole rats are strange, ugly, nearly hairless mouse-like creatures that live in underground communities.
Unlike any other mammal, these communities consist of queens and workers. What is really nonstandard is the age about 30 years that the rats can live up which is really high for rodents.
What is especially interesting is that these rats have never been found with tumors. Based on latest findings, these rats cells contain a gene called p16 which stops cell proliferation when there are too many of them (cells) around. The scientists called it claustrophobic effect.
If the effect of p16 gene can be applied on humans it could be a way to halt cancer before it starts.
Photo: IZW, Stefan Günther