Water Bears: The (Almost) Indestructible Animal
The tardigrade has been found to survive:
Temperatures ranging from −272 °C (~1 K, −458 °F) to 151 °C (304 °F), although only for a few minutes at these temperatures. At -20 °C, it has been able to survive for 30 years.
Atmospheric pressures ranging from the vacuum of space to more than six times the pressure at the bottom of the Mariana Trench (6,000 atm).
Severe dehydration, being able to survive for 10 years after having a body composition of 3% water. This occurs in extreme cold conditions, so that when freezing does occur, the expanding water does not rip its body apart.
Extreme levels of radiation, roughly 1000 times more radiation than other animals. This is due to their above average ability to repair damaged DNA.
In the eyes of some scientists, the most impressive attribute of the tardigrade is their resistance to radiation. Researchers took notice of their DNA's tolerance to radioactivity and decided to perform an experiment using human cultured cells and tardigrade-unique DNA-associating protein. What they found was that the protein suppresses X-ray-induced DNA damage by ∼40% and improves tolerance to radioactivity. This is a big deal because these findings could lead to a source of protection genes and mechanisms to benefit the human race.
Thanks tardigrades, you cute-ish ugly-ish creatures.
Posted by Ross Cavalieri (1)