Studying the mitochondrial DNA of 165 Black Rat specimens from 32 countries around the world, an international team of scientists has identified six distinct lineages in the Black Rat’s family tree, each originating from a different part of Asia.
“Black Rats are carriers of many different human diseases, including plague, typhus and leptospirosis,” says CSIRO mammal expert Dr Ken Aplin, lead author of the study.
“It has been unclear why certain rodent-borne diseases are more common in some places than others, but our work raises the possibility that the different lineages of Black Rats each carry a different set of diseases, which is something medical science now needs to consider.
“We need to know more about what types of Black Rats are moving around the world and what disease risks each of them might pose.”
The Indian lineage spread to the Middle-East around 20,000 years ago, then later to Europe. It reached Africa, the Americas and Australia during the Age of Exploration.
The East Asian lineage moved from Taiwan to Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia, arriving in Micronesia only 3,500 years ago.
The other four lineages have not become so widespread but they could be set to expand their ranges in the future.
“Our findings also show a good match between the historic spread of each lineage and ancient routes of human migration and trade, but there are a few surprises that raise new questions about human prehistory,” Dr Aplin says.
“The genetic evidence points strongly to there being more than one species of black rat, but more work is needed before we can say exactly how many species there are.”
The Black Rat (Rattus rattus) is one of the most common of the world’s 56 Rattus species, and is also known as the house, roof or ship rat. It is found throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas.
Dr Aplin will present the results of his team’s research at the Archaeological Science Conference in Canberra on Monday.
Andrea Wild | EurekAlert!
Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells
21.09.2018 | NMI Naturwissenschaftliches und Medizinisches Institut an der Universität Tübingen
A one-way street for salt
21.09.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
21.09.2018 | Event News
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2018 | Life Sciences
21.09.2018 | Event News