by Max Brantley
News this morning lifted my heart.
I've long admired the awesome ugliness of the naked mole rat, an East African animal that is part of the Little Rock Zoo collection.
Naked mole rats produce a unique compound that appears to block them from getting cancer.
Rochelle Buffenstein, who studies the biology of naked mole rats at the University of Texas Health Science Center, called the discovery by Dr. Gorbunova and Dr. Seluanov “intriguing and most unexpected.” She is hopeful that the naked mole rat’s secrets may inspire new treatments for cancer.
Dr. Gorbunova and Dr. Seluanov are hopeful as well; they’re now investigating whether the compound can protect mice from cancer. “We think this mechanism could be moved into humans,” Dr. Gorbunova said.
And speaking of lovable ugly animals:
Channel 4 reports here on a Ellie Mae, an eight-year-old Chinese crested hairless dog from Gurdon that is en route to California today to compete in the world's ugliest dog contest. The Arkansas dog is a top vote-getter in on-line voting.