Friday, 6 November 2015

Vampire bats’ saliva is specially evolved for blood-feeding

Date: October 30, 2015
Source: Texas Tech University

As the closest real-world cousin of a Halloween nightmare, the vampire bat is unique among vertebrates because it feeds only on the blood of other mammals. But according to new research from two Texas Tech University faculty members in the Department of Biological Sciences, these bats may now be specially designed for it.

In their soon-to-be-published study "Secretory gene recruitments in vampire bat salivary adaptation and potential convergences with sanguivorous leeches," Caleb D. Phillips, an assistant professor and curator of genetic resources at the Natural Science Research Laboratory, and Robert Baker, Horn professor emeritus and curator of mammals emeritus at the Natural Science Research Laboratory, said some of the venomous contents in the bats' saliva likely evolved by recruiting ancestral genes to produce new transcript molecules rather than by creating completely new gene sequences.

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