BGI today announces the online publication in Science of the latest findings through genomic analysis of two distantly related bat species, the Black flying fox (Pteropus alecto) and David’s Myotis (Myotis davidii). The work here provides new insight into the genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution of flight and immunity of bats, and also opens the way for addressing major gaps into understanding of bat biology and provides new directions for future research.
Bats are often characterized as creepy, disease-carrying, and even blood-sucking animals as often depicted in horror movies. The centuries of myths and misinformation make them one of the least studied and most misunderstood animals. However, in recent years, more and more scientists have been irresistibly attracted to their specific traits, such as the capacity for sustained flight, and the feature that bats could coexist with some of the world’s most deadly viruses, such as Nipah, Hendra, Ebola and SARS.