Naked Mole Rats don't age


Staff member
When I talk about the potential of human immortality, I am usually greeted by a combination look of 'poor deluded soul' and 'how naive'. After all, we are complex biological machines that inevitably mutate and decay over time. Some may quote the law of thermodynamics, where in a closed system we gravitate towards chaos.

This all sounds fine and dandy, but how does that explain why naked mole rats don't age?

[Do I hear footsteps scurrying off to check the accuracy of my statement? "Surely he is wrong...?"]

So if a mammal can avoid ageing, where we share plenty of common DNA, then this is proof of concept that biological decay is not inevitable.

Anyone want cheese for dinner? :p
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Founding Member
Interesting. But I think that there are some other points to consider.

The NMR doesn't altogether avoid ageing. It is however, extremely long-lived for a rodent. But eventually it dies. There's a comparison with humans and with mice. Humans and NMRs have DNA-repairing capabilities. Mice don't. So, it would be reasonable to assume that mice have a short life-span (in relation to NMRs and humans). And, that being the case, it is therefore reasonable to assume that Humans and NMRs benefit from DNA-repairing capabilities, which means we are probably nearing our optimum lifespan naturally.


Founding Member
The maximum lifespans of humans, naked mole rats, and mice are respectively c. 120, 30 and 3 years. The longer-lived species, humans and naked mole rats, expressed DNA repair genes, including core genes in several DNA repair pathways, at a higher level than did mice. In addition, several DNA repair pathways in humans and naked mole rats were up-regulated compared with mice. These findings suggest that increased DNA repair facilitates greater longevity, and also are consistent with the DNA damage theory of aging.[48]

So, while they may not age in the way we think of ie, loss of pigmentation and collagen in skin and hair (just as one example), there is nevertheless damage to DNA which cannot be repaired as the body of the animal gets older, so it is a form of ageing.


Founding Member
I actually have little to say directly on-topic, but just as a "fun" side note, one of the frequent threats to your character when you are playing any one of the Fallout games for PC/Consoles is the "Giant Mole Rat" which, post-nuclear-holocaust, is the size of a big dog or feral cat, but has a worse temper and MUCH bigger teeth. I would guess that studies on the mole rat from 20+ years ago brought them to the attention of the game designers? If they were long-lived before, I wonder how durable they would be after a nuclear holocaust?