Functional, Morphological, and Evolutionary Characterization of Hearing in Subterranean, Eusocial African Mole-Rats

  title={Functional, Morphological, and Evolutionary Characterization of Hearing in Subterranean, Eusocial African Mole-Rats},
  author={S. Pyott and M. van Tuinen and Laurel A. Screven and K. Schrode and J. Bai and Catherine M. Barone and S. Price and A. Lysakowski and Maxwell Sanderford and Sudhir Kumar and J. Santos-Sacchi and Amanda M Lauer and T. Park},
  journal={Current Biology},
Naked mole-rats are highly vocal, eusocial, subterranean rodents with, counterintuitively, poor hearing. The causes underlying their altered hearing are unknown. Moreover, whether altered hearing is degenerate or adaptive to their unique lifestyles is controversial. We used various methods to identify the factors contributing to altered hearing in naked and the related Damaraland mole-rats and to examine whether these alterations result from relaxed or adaptive selection. Remarkably, we found… Expand

Figures and Tables from this paper

The naked truth: a comprehensive clarification and classification of current 'myths' in naked mole-rat biology.
The naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) has fascinated zoologists for at least half a century. It has also generated considerable biomedical interest not only because of its extraordinaryExpand
Preparation of the intact rodent organ of Corti for RNAscope and immunolabeling, confocal microscopy, and quantitative analysis
Summary This protocol describes the preparation of the mouse organ of Corti for RNAscope, immunolabeling, confocal microscopy, and quantitative image analysis to examine transcript and proteinExpand
OUTSIDE JEB Warm fish eggs gasp for oxygen
  • 2021
Breathing underwater is tough. Fish get by thanks to their elaborate gills, which have a large surface area to efficiently extract oxygen from the water. However, eggs don’t have this luxury and mustExpand
Mole-rats play evolution by ear


Limited Evidence for Parallel Molecular Adaptations Associated with the Subterranean Niche in Mammals: A Comparative Study of Three Superorders
It is concluded that selection may have acted on different loci across subterranean mammal lineages to produce similar phenotypes, both under positive selection and with convergent substitutions. Expand
Ear and eye in subterranean mole-rats, Fukomys anselli (Bathyergidae) and Spalax ehrenbergi (Spalacidae): progressive specialisation or regressive degeneration?
The hearing and visual ecology of mole-rats, Spalax ehrenbergi (Spalacidae) from Israel and Fukomys (formerly Cryptomys) anselli (Bathyergidae) from Zambia, two rodent taxa that have independentlyExpand
Vocalizations of the giant mole-rat (Fukomys mechowii), a subterranean rodent with the richest vocal repertoire
This study describes the vocal repertoire of the social subterranean rodent, the giant mole-rat (Fukomys mechowii, Bathyergidae), from mesic Afrotropics and suggests that the rich vocal repertoire is connected with rich social interactions in giant Mole-rat families. Expand
Regressed but Not Gone: Patterns of Vision Gene Loss and Retention in Subterranean Mammals.
  • C. Emerling
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Integrative and comparative biology
  • 2018
Results suggest that although living underground tends to lead to major losses of visual functions, natural selection is maintaining genes that support the eye, perhaps as an organ for circadian and/or circannual entrainment. Expand
Degenerate hearing and sound localization in naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber), with an overview of central auditory structures
The fact that subterranean mammals have little use for vision in a lightless environment suggests that naked mole rats represent an extreme case in this relationship and may explain the fact that, unlike surface‐dwelling mammals, they have virtually lost the ability to localize brief sounds. Expand
Family Wide Molecular Adaptations to Underground Life in African Mole-Rats Revealed by Phylogenomic Analysis
This family wide analysis of molecular evolution in mole-rats has identified a suite of positively selected genes, deepening the understanding of the extreme phenotypic traits exhibited by this group. Expand
Ear Structures of the Naked Mole-Rat, Heterocephalus glaber, and Its Relatives (Rodentia: Bathyergidae)
Substantial intraspecific differences were found in certain middle and inner ear structures, which might reflect a lack of selective pressure on its peripheral auditory system and also result from relaxed selective pressures. Expand
A functional enrichment test for molecular convergent evolution finds a clear protein-coding signal in echolocating bats and whales
A generalizable test is developed that offers a resounding “yes” to both extensively debated questions about molecular convergence and how much genomic molecular convergence contributes to convergent phenotypic evolution, such as echolocation in bats and whales. Expand
Middle ear structures of Octodon degus (Rodentia: Octodontidae), in comparison with those of subterranean caviomorphs
Examination of the middle ear of the nonsubterranean degu (Octodon degus) under light microscopy revealed a septated middle ear cavity, a circular tympanic membrane lacking a pars flaccida, and a malleus with elongated head, which suggests that sensitive low-frequency hearing is plesiomorphic for this group, rather than being specifically associated with a subterranean lifestyle. Expand
Adaptations to a subterranean environment and longevity revealed by the analysis of mole rat genomes.
Comparative genome analyses and transcriptomes revealed candidate molecular adaptations for subterranean life and longevity, including a divergent insulin peptide, expression of oxygen-carrying globins in the brain, prevention of high CO2-induced pain perception, and enhanced ammonia detoxification. Expand