Congratulations to CRT supervisor Emma Teeling on her fascinating study of bat genomes which made the front cover of Nature. Emma is the co-founder of the Bat1K project, which aims to decode the genomes of all 1,421 living bat species.
In this study Emma and colleagues used state-of-the-art technologies to generate high quality genomes of six bat species. This knowledge of bat genomes could help explain how bats tolerate coronavirus infections, which may, in the future, help in fighting pandemics.
Emma said “the study suggests bats have unique immune systems and understanding how bats can tolerate viruses without getting sick could help in the development of new treatments for viruses such as Covid-19”.
The work has implications for human health and disease, by revealing a large number of genetic changes that give bats protection from viruses.
Sam Carty is a CRT PhD student in Emma’s group and his project is focussed on using the genomic data from bats to understand how bats live for decades as most mammals that size have much shorter lifespans.