LEARNING ABOUT THE MYSTERIOUS “WATER BEARS” OR “SPACE BEARS” (Tardigrades)

071417_MT_tardigarde_main_free

“WATER OR SPACE BEARS” (TARDIGRADES)

 

Related image

Most incredible creature on Earth has 17.5% Alien DNA and is able to Survive in Space

These are some amazing creatures: tiny invertebrates called ‘water bears’ which can survive in the vacuum of space, a European Space Agency experiment has shown. They are the first animals known to be able to survive the harsh combination of low pressure and intense radiation found in space.

Water bears, also known as tardigrades, are known for their virtual indestructibility on Earth. The creatures can survive intense pressures, huge doses of radiation, and years of being dried out.

Essentially, the Water Bear or the Tardigrade is able to use the genetic material of other species it comes across in order to survive rather than using only the hereditary material that is transmitted at birth. According to the study, the Water Bear has collected “about 6,000 alien genes throughout its history, ” which means that the creature’s DNA is primarily foreign.Related image

 

It is believed that the Water Bears live among other species like plants, fungi, bacteria and Archaea which are single-celled microorganisms. Thomas Boothby, a professor at the University of North Carolina, explains that genetic material can come from both direct ancestors and distantly related organisms. So instead of the Water Bears always using or having the direct DNA that is passed down to them from their parents, they are also able to take on DNA from distantly related species. The genetic DNA is spread out like a web rather than through a direct connection. By living alongside other species that are similar in cellular makeup, the Water Bears are able to take on parts of their DNA.

These extremophiles have indeed swapped DNA with other basic organisms, but that’s been rather limited. Researchers found that less than 2% of their genes originated from bacteria, for example. But those that did were responsible for some of the creatures’ most important survival tactics.

For example, water bears, as their name implies, live in water. Even those that wander about on land do so in a thin film of liquid to keep themselves hydrated. If conditions change, however, and it starts getting a bit too dry, they can form a rigid internal, cellular skeleton made out of specialized proteins. These molecules don’t evaporate like water, and they help the creature maintain its shape, putting it into a specialized type of hibernation until it can get to water again.

Studying these little animals is an important first step in understanding one of Earth’s most mysterious creatures.

They can get through extremes of temperature. These temperatures range between −458 °F(−272 °C) to 300 °F(150 °C). Researchers finally found the secret behind their long lives. They can live for up to 30 years without food or water.

They can be found throughout the world from the highest mountains to the deepest seas. The most favorable places are dunes, beaches, soil and marine or freshwater sediments. Well, if you really want to see one, soak a piece of moss into the water. They could be found there too.

The discovery of water bears took place in 1773. The German pastor Johann August Ephraim Goeze observed them for the first time. After three years of discovery, Italian biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani gave the creature the name of Tardigrada which means slow stepper.

We have some previous records of revived animals. An example would be the reviving of nematodes after 39 years. Similarly, a case of a moss also took place and it was revived after 25 years. These creatures have an ability to shut down their activities especially their metabolism.

They have the ability to enter a “tun” state through anhydrobiosis. The tardigrade enters this state when their environment completely lacks water, or is desiccated. Similar to its environment, the critter shrivels up into a ball-like shape while losing 97% of its water level and slowing its metabolism down to 0.01% of the normal level. Instead of the water in its system, a sugar molecule called trehalose, which is also found in other organisms like yeast that can survive drought, takes its place and helps stabilize the destructive expansion of water that would otherwise take place in extreme temperatures. In turning themselves to a dormant state, tardigrades can go into “hibernation” until conditions are favorable once again, perhaps a year, a decade, or even a century later.

Additionally, a recent analysis of the tardigrade’s genome revealed a hidden ability of these critters in their survival: to turn into glass. The analysis revealed that tardigrades have a specific protein that is unique to them, ironically called the “tardigrade-specific intrinsically disordered proteins,” or TDPs, that turn their cytoplasmic fluid into a glass-like state. TDPs are unlike most proteins in that in a normal environment with proper water levels, they do not have the concrete structure that most proteins have. In contrast, they are loose and free flowing. However, when faced with desiccation, the TDPs convert the cytoplasm into a glass-like substance. In doing so, this bioglass helps sustain other molecules that are sensitive to water levels. Additionally, TDPs help prevent water molecules from forming ice crystals that puncture the cytoplasm during freezing or drying, allowing tardigrades to survive in all conditions, even space.

Image result for IMAGES WATER BEARS

Image result for IMAGES WATER BEARS

There are many mansions or dwelling places in this Infinite Multiverse!!!

Image result for IMAGES WATER BEARS

 

Sources:

Advertisements

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anita Bowden says:

    Fascinating information, Amira!!

    Like

    1. Thank you dear Anita! It really does make you think about all the infinite possibilities in which life can take form and thrive in any medium, even in places where we think there is no possibility for life to exist! 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s