Crop Biotech Update

Protective Protein of Water Bears Helps Human DNA Withstand X-ray Damage

October 12, 2016

Tardigrades or water bears, are aquatic invertebrates known to have the ability to withstand extreme conditions such as cruel vacuum, intense cold, and radiation of space. While investigating on this exemplary ability, scientists discovered another superpower of tardigrade, which lies in its protective protein. This particular protein can provide resistance to damaging X-rays. Thus, scientists from the University of Tokyo transferred this resistance to human cells.

The protein called Dsup was able to prevent disruption of the tardigrade's DNA when exposed to radiation and dessication. When the tardigrade-tinged human cells were exposed to X-ray, the damage was suppressed by about 40 percent.

Read more details from Nature.