One of natures coolest little critters, the tardigrade, is known for its odd abilities. They are able to survive extreme temperatures, can transform themselves into something like glass for long periods of time, and they can protect their DNA from radiation damage.
A previous study showed that tardigrades have a unique protein called Dsup that is able to suppress DNA damage caused by radiation. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, have now discovered just how the protein works. The team discovered that the protein has two parts, one that binds to the DNA, and one that forms a sort of shield that protects the DNA from radiation.
The researchers suggest that this radiation shield actually evolved for another purpose, to protect the tardigrades from dehydration in dry environments. This discovery may one day have clinical applications that could help protect human cells from radiation.
Source: Science Alert
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