Vampire bats’ “lack” of genes can help them survive on a thoroughbred diet

Vampire bats have an unusual diet that consists only of blood that is high in protein but lacks other nutrients. Now a new study suggests that “missing” genes may explain how the flying mammals survive on nothing but blood meals, hurled from their victims’ open wounds in the gloom and darkness of the night, It reported The Scientist Magazine.

In the new study, which was posted Oct. 19 to the preprint database bioRxiv, researchers compared the genome of the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) with them from 25 other bat species. It showed the analysis D. rotundus missing functional copies of 13 gener appearing in the other bats; these missing genes are either completely absent in the vampires’ genome, or they contain so many mutations that they are unlikely to produce functional proteins, co-author of the study Michael Hiller, a genomicist at the LOEWE Center for Translational Biodiversity Genomics in Germany, told The Scientist.

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