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Superhumans could be modified with a far better tolerance to lower temperatures in the future, according to new research.
Experts found the key to resisting the cold is hidden in the brains of all mammals and they believe it could be activated in human cells.
Finding - People - Hibernation - State - Animals
The finding would also let people enter a hibernation state similar to some animals, which could be useful on long journeys to deep space.
Researchers from Yale University found that hibernating animals hold the key to why some species are more sensitive to the cold than others.
Rodents - Neurons - Ability - Temperatures
Hibernating rodents have evolved cold-sensing neurons with diminished ability to detect temperatures below 20°C (68°F).
The TRMP8 gene is the specialised area in the brain responsible for reacting to the cold when it is triggered.
Adaptation - Strand - DNA - Lets - Rodent
An adaptation to this strand of DNA lets hibernating rodent's body temperature drop for long periods of time without causing them to feel stressed by these conditions, triggering their seasonal slumber.
Animals like ground squirrels don't feel the cold, even when it's snowing outside and another rodent, the Syrian hamster, shares the same mechanism.
Researchers - Ability - Animals - Humans
Researchers discovered that this ability could be manipulated in other animals, including humans.
Speaking to MailOnline study co-authors Dr Sviatoslav Bagriantsev and Dr Elena Gracheva said: 'Future research will make it possible to confer cold tolerance to human cells, with potential implications for medicine.
Hibernation - Phenomenon - Way - Hibernation - Humans
'Understanding the hibernation phenomenon in general will pave the way to inducing hibernation in humans, which seems necessary for long-term space flight.'
While humans and space flight is the long-term goal, the next step involves genetically altering rodents.
Authors - Moment - Mouse
The authors continued: 'At this moment we are working on generating a "squirrelized" mouse.
'We are trying to make a non-hibernating species of mouse cold tolerant...
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