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Revealed – How can Earth's hardiest animal survive being frozen for 30 years! (Watch)

As per a new research by the scientists at University of Tokyo, the creatures clothe their DNA in a protective protein, enabling them to survive freezing, boiling and radiation for 30 years.


Revealed – How can Earth's hardiest animal survive being frozen for 30 years! (Watch)
Image courtesy: Tanaka S, Sagara H, Kunieda

New Delhi: Scientists have finally shed light on how tardigrades, also known as ‘water bears’,  got so tough by sequencing their genomes.

As per a new research by the scientists at University of Tokyo, the creatures clothe their DNA in a protective protein, enabling them to survive freezing, boiling and radiation for 30 years.

Video courtesy: NPG Press

Earlier, scientists believed that tardigrades had the ability to tolerate the damaging effects of the kind of stresses the creatures regularly undergo.

However, the new research found that the creatures have developed a range of handy tools to help them avoid death time and time again.

According to the researchers, this radiation-blocking protein, even cooler and when incorporated into human cells, also reduced the damage to human DNA from X-rays by an impressive 40 percent.

"We were really surprised," one of the researchers, Takuma Hashimoto from the University of Tokyo, told AFP.

"It is striking that a single gene is enough to improve the radiation tolerance of human cultured cells."

Video courtesy: NPG Press

The team performed their genetic analysis on a specific species of water bear called Ramazzottius varieornatus, which is arguably the toughest of all tardigrade species.

The research has shed light on how tardigrades were not only able to survive, but to reproduce on returning to Earth from space in 2007.

However, scientists believe protein might not have been their only source of protection against sun’s radiation.

The tardigrades themselves, though, were far more resistant to X-rays than the human cells that the researchers manipulated. "[So] tardigrades have other tricks up their sleeves, which we have yet to identify," Prof Matthew Cobb from the University of Manchester told the BBC.

Scientists named the protein Dsup gene - short for "damage suppressor" - which they believe could one day be used to protect us from radiation, like X-rays or harmful Urays.

Scientists also think that genes like Dsup could be used to store and transport human cells - protecting, for example, delicate human skin grafts from damage.

There are more than 800 described species of tardigrade, but thousands more are not yet named.

The research has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

From Zee News

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