Some Exciting Future Directions for Work on Naked Mole-Rats.


The naked mole-rat is a species of growing research interest. Recent focus on this species from both a biomedical and zoological perspective has led to important discoveries regarding eusociality and ecophysiological and sensory traits associated with life below ground as well as natural protection from variable oxygen availability, acid-induced pain, and the vagaries of aging. These features serve to remind us that many foundational discoveries have arisen using extremophilic organisms and elucidating the mechanisms they employ to survive the harsh environmental conditions they encounter. Investigating these evolved features also facilitates a better understanding of several human disease states that share features with this harsh subterranean milieu. Here, we provide an overview of some unanswered questions and future directions to advance this field, alongside discussion of the tools that could facilitate accelerated progression of research using this enigmatic model.