How Fruit Bats Got a Sweet Tooth Without Sour Health

Jamaican fruit bat in flight
A high-sugar diet is bad news for humans, leading to diabetes, obesity, and even cancer. Yet fruit bats survive and even thrive by eating up to twice their body weight in sugary fruit every day. Now, UC San Francisco scientists have discovered how fruit bats may have evolved to consume so much sugar, with potential implications for the 37 million Americans with diabetes. The findings, published on January 9, 2024 in Nature Communications, point to adaptations in the fruit bat body that prevent their sugar-rich diet from becoming harmful. The open-access article is titled “Integrative Single-Cell Characterization of a Frugivorous and an Insectivorous Bat Kidney and Pancreas.”
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