Researchers reveal Tardigrades' survival technique in death like conditions

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Tardigrades survival technique no more a mystery
Tardigrades survival technique no more a mystery

New Delhi : The researchers have revealed a unique survival technique used by Tardigrades, also known as water bears, to face toughest of situations. Their bodies come with a special gene that saves them from drying out.

Bodies of Tardigrades are designed in a way that they can easily survive high temperatures up to 150 degree Celsius and low temperatures below freezing point.

In a latest, the species have easily survived low pressure situation located outside NASA's International Space Station; the Tardigrades were seen hanging out at the place where low pressure situation can kill humans in matter of few minutes.

"The big takeaway from our study is that tardigrades have evolved unique genes that allow them to survive drying out. In addition, the proteins that these genes encode can be used to protect other biological material like bacteria, yeast, and certain enzymes - from desiccation," Dr Thomas Boothby, of North Carolina University, who led the study, said.

Earlier, it was believed that Tardigrades have special type of sugar trehelose in their bodies that prevent them from drying out, but the new revelation suggests that a special protein TDP - tardigrade-specific intrinsically disordered proteins – keep them alive in toughest situations. 

After the discovery, the scientists placed the genes into yeast and bacteria, which then developed the similar properties as the tardigrades. 

TDPs could be used to save crops from drought and to preserve medicines without using a refrigerator, said Dr Boothby.