OCT 17, 2018 10:51 AM PDT

The Science Behind Tardigrade's Ability to Survive Dehydration

Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are a type of eight-legged micro-animals that are less than half-millimeter in length.  There are over a thousand species under the same phylum, most of which are capable of surviving unthinkably harsh conditions, such as extreme heat and cold (-200 degree Celsius to the boiling point of water), extreme pressures (0 to 1,200 atmospheric pressure), dehydration and intense radiation.

To unravel the mystery of tardigrade's amazing survivability, a team of U.S. and Italian researchers looked into what happens when the micro-animal is getting dehydrated. They found that the tardigrades undergo a process called vitrification--their body turns into a glass-like solid. A family of proteins called TDPs, expressed by the tiny critter, fill up the cytoplasm as its bodily water evaporates. The TDPs can stop the cellular structure from collapsing, which allow the tardigrades to come back to life once their environmental humidity improves. 

Source: ACS Reactions via Youtube

About the Author
  • With years of experience in biomedical R & D, Daniel is also very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles.
You May Also Like
JUL 24, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 24, 2018
How Does It Taste? Want Some Salt (and Microplastics)?
Looks can be very deceiving: pristine, pure-like grains of sea salt can be the perfect trojan horse for the invasion of the omnipresent environmental villa...
AUG 22, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
AUG 22, 2018
The Universe is Expanding, But How Fast?
Since the Big Bang, our universe has never ceased expanding. The rate of cosmic expansion, now known as the Hubble Constant, was first defined by Belgian a...
AUG 30, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
AUG 30, 2018
This Liquid Filter Does the Opposite of What Regular Filters Do
Regular filters, often made of porous solid materials, either trap solids mixed in with fluid, or big molecules and let small ones go through. But a bio-in...
SEP 13, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 13, 2018
Faster-Than-Light Jets Seen from Neutron Star Merger
Is there anything in the universe that can travel faster than light? A recent report in the journal Nature declared that the movement of a jet of expl...
OCT 05, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 05, 2018
Nuclear Reactor, Constructed by Nature
Uranium-235, making up about 0.72% of natural uranium on Earth, is a fissile isotope that fuels the nuclear chain reaction.  Back in 1972, staffs who...
OCT 25, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 25, 2018
Want a Stimulus for Taste? Try Licking a Battery
What does electricity taste like? Behind this childish, nearly foolish quest, there is some curious mechanisms of chemistry and physics in play. We kn...
Loading Comments...