Author Topic: New discoveries about the toughest creature that exists  (Read 32 times)


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New discoveries about the toughest creature that exists
« on: July 29, 2017, 06:37:38 PM »

Yes, my random science news thread for this week brings you the tiny adorable blobs of flabby nightmare fuel known as tardigrades or water bears :) I thought this was pretty cool, obvious practical applications as well as it being some cool research.

Genetic analyses of tardigrades has revealed some of the secrets of their incredible survival abilities. These tiny creatures, sometimes called water bears, can survive radiation, freezing, extreme dehydration and even the vacuum of space.

Researchers have now decoded the DNA of two species of tardigrade and uncovered the genes that allow them to be revived after desiccation. Just a millimetre or less in size, tardigrades are believed to be the toughest creatures on Earth. A recent study found that they could survive almost any cosmic disaster that could hit the planet. Tardigrades are often found in locations that dry out such as in moss and in ponds. Over time they have acquired the ability to survive extreme dehydration and spring back to life years later in the presence of water.

In this new paper, scientists found that the key to their survival is genetic. Dry conditions trigger some of the creature's genes to produce proteins which replace missing water in their cells. Once water is available again it refills the cells dissolving the proteins.The researchers say understanding this innate survival ability of tardigrades could have benefits for humans, such as allowing live vaccines to be posted around the world and stored without refrigeration.

The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...