Saturday, 1 June 2019

A type of African mole rat is immune to the pain caused by wasabi

quote [ A species of mole rat doesn't feel pain in response to a compound that gives wasabi its pungent taste, and could hint at new ways to relieve pain in people ]

this article is a little light to be "science" but this should lead you down the mole-rat hole

A type of African mole rat is immune to the pain caused by wasabi
LIFE 30 May 2019
mole rat
This mole rat has evolved to feel no pain when the ants in its burrow bite
Dewald Kleynhans, University of Pretoria
By Adam Vaughan

If you hate wasabi-flavoured snacks, you are not alone. All things in the animal kingdom, down to worms and flies, naturally avoid allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), the compound responsible for wasabi’s pungent taste. But now researchers have discovered the first species immune to the burning pain caused by exposure to AITC, raising the prospect of new pain relief in humans and boosting our knowledge of evolution.

The highveld mole rat (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae), which lives in the east of South Africa, proved completely insensitive to AITC when it was injected in its paw. The reason appears to be the similarity of AITC to the sting of the aggressive Natal droptail ant, which often live in the rats’ burrows.

An international team concludes that over millions of years, the rat has developed a particularly high expression for a gene that blocked the channel through which it would feel pain from AITC. That immunity gives the highvelds an advantage over other African mole rat species, allowing them to survive in areas others would not enter because of their sensitivity to the ant’s sting.

The blind watchmaker
“Evolution over millions of years works like a blind watchmaker, of how to fix the problem,” says Gary Lewin of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Germany.

When his team used drugs to block the ‘short circuit’ protecting the rats from feeling the burn from AITC, they did react to the pain.

The understanding of the genetic mechanism for turning off pain perception could help people in future too. “This could help develop a therapy to shut down pain in humans,” says Lewin.

The rats are related to the ugly but exceptional naked mole-rat, which for years has been known to be immune to the pain caused by acid.

Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.aau0236

[SFW] [food & drink] [+1 Interesting]
[by lilmookieesquire@9:34pmGMT]

Comments

mwooody said @ 12:11pm GMT on 2nd Jun
I like to imagine the process by which this immunity was discovered. Is there literally a scientist who just collects every species on earth and rubs wasabi on it?
Headlessfriar said @ 12:49pm GMT on 2nd Jun
I think it was more a frat boy feeding every snack from the imported foods section to his menagerie of weird pets, solely to impress the other frat boys. Kinda like a crappy college comedy movie.
robotroadkill said @ 2:51am GMT on 3rd Jun
Are they talking about real Wasabi ground from a root and spoiled in 15 minutes or the fake stuff you can buy in a tube from grocery stores?
mechanical contrivance said @ 6:06pm GMT on 3rd Jun
But are they immune to figging?

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