Beaver and Naked Mole Rat Genomes Reveal Common Paths to Longevity

Xuming Zhou, Qianhui Dou, Guangyi Fan, Quanwei Zhang, Maxwell Sanderford, Alaattin Kaya, Jeremy Johnson, Elinor K. Karlsson, Xiao Tian, Aleksei Mikhalchenko, Sudhir Kumar, Andrei Seluanov, Zhengdong D. Zhang, Vera Gorbunova, Xin Liu, Vadim N. Gladyshev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Long-lived rodents have become an attractive model for the studies on aging. To understand evolutionary paths to long life, we prepare chromosome-level genome assemblies of the two longest-lived rodents, Canadian beaver (Castor canadensis) and naked mole rat (NMR, Heterocephalus glaber), which were scaffolded with in vitro proximity ligation and chromosome conformation capture data and complemented with long-read sequencing. Our comparative genomic analyses reveal that amino acid substitutions at “disease-causing” sites are widespread in the rodent genomes and that identical substitutions in long-lived rodents are associated with common adaptive phenotypes, e.g., enhanced resistance to DNA damage and cellular stress. By employing a newly developed substitution model and likelihood ratio test, we find that energy and fatty acid metabolism pathways are enriched for signals of positive selection in both long-lived rodents. Thus, the high-quality genome resource of long-lived rodents can assist in the discovery of genetic factors that control longevity and adaptive evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107949
JournalCell Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 28 2020


  • aging
  • beaver
  • chromosome-level assembly
  • evolutionary analyses
  • gene expression
  • genome
  • long-lived rodents
  • longevity
  • naked mole rat
  • stress resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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