Since they became prent in NYC, they have posed an increasing threat to New Yorkers, growing larger and more aggressive. They have, in some cases, grown to over two lbs and 20 inches long.


However, the differences between other brown rats and NYC rats are not just on the surface. It turns out that NYC rats have fundamentally begun to evolve differently than their counterparts.


As The Guardian puts it, “Then the researchers compared the genomes of the city’s rodents with those of nine brown rats from Heilongjiang province in north-east China, the original home of Rattus norvegicus. Their findings – posted last week on online site bioRxiv – included a list of several dozen rat genes that showed major changes in DNA over the centuries as the species spread from Asia to Europe and on to America, and from the countryside into cities. These altered genes include those associated with diet, behaviour and movement, and reflect the ever-present need for rats to adapt to the challenges of living with humans in a city. The pressures include increased danger from disease and changes in diets, said the scientists, among them Pleuni Pennings of San Francisco State University and Jason Munshi-South of Fordham University.”

正如《卫报》所说,“然后,研究人员将该市啮齿动物的基因组与来自中国东北黑龙江省的九只棕色老鼠的基因组进行了比较,黑龙江省是褐家鼠的原始家园。他们的研究结果上周发表在bioRxiv网站上,其中包括几十种老鼠基因的列表,这些基因显示了几个世纪以来,随着老鼠从亚洲传播到欧洲,再到美洲,从农村传播到城市,DNA发生了重大变化。这些改变的基因包括那些与饮食、行为和运动有关的基因,反映了老鼠在城市中与人类生活在一起的挑战。包括旧金山州立大学的Pleuni Pennings和福特汉姆大学的Jason Munshi-South在内的科学家说,这些压力包括来自疾病的危险增加和饮食的变化。

Turns out a different lifestyle among rats might be able to reflect in DNA change over time (originally put decades, which was my mistake in translating the literature).


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