Prof Emma Teeling is a leading international scientist in the fields of mammalian phylogenetics and comparative genomics. At a Women in Science and Technology (WITS) event last week to celebrate International Women’s Day, she challenged the generally accepted demonisation of bats and presented them as superheroes.
She argues that bats’ unique and fascinating biology gives us insight into our own genetic makeup. What is more, they are essential for the ecosystem to function – without them plants and even entire industries could die, says Teeling.
According to Teeling, who is also director of the Centre for Irish Bat Research at Science Centre West, University College Dublin, the study of bats and their unique sensory abilities allow us to gain great insight into human diseases of the senses, such as blindness and deafness. In addition, Teeling believes that the secret of everlasting youth lies within the bat’s DNA.
The event on 7 March also marked WITS’ own 23rd anniversary.
Bats image via Shutterstock
Watch highlights from Prof Emma Teeling’s talk, ‘The Secret of the Bat Genome’, here:
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