Researcher Linfa Wang is assembling a team to dig into the bat genome in an effort to understand the resilience and longevity of the animals, which serve as an important reservoir of zoonotic disease. Researchers have traced the origins of bats to more than 50 million years ago, and today, bats number more than 1,100 species. "The most outstanding difference we've seen between bats and other mammals has to do with DNA repair," Wang said. "If the science is as true as we think it is, we can unlock the mechanisms and it can have a huge, huge impact."

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