Water Bears May Help Protect Human DNA

Water Bears May Help Protect Human DNA
Water Bears May Help Protect Human DNA

It’s probably the ugliest “bear” on the planet, but it can withstand being boiled, frozen, and even irradiated. Scientists have been studying these “water bears” to see if their hardy makeup might be of some benefit to humans. Water bears, also known as tardigrades, are microscopic aquatic creatures found in practically all bodies of water. Scientists have discovered in the DNA of water bears what they call a “damage suppressor” gene, or Dsup, that has a special protein that wraps around its DNA like a protective blanket. In a recent study, scientists inserted Dsup into human DNA and subjected the cells to x-rays. The result was that the Dsup cells showed less damage to its DNA than those without it. This could prove useful to humans for protection against radiation in the future.



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