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Indestructible organism found on Earth


It is believed that an indestructible organism was discovered on Earth. The characteristics of this organism are compared to the invulnerable powers of Supermen. This organism is called tardigrade.

Further details on this revealed by include the description of this organism. Measuring little more than a millimetre, the tardigrade is the only living thing on Earth that can survive the extremes of outer space, resisting temperatures near boiling point and absolute zero as well as solar winds and deadly radiation.

The eight-legged marvel – more frequently known as water bears – can even go without food or liquids for a decade.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have sequenced the genome of the nearly indestructible creature and discovered how it can take on DNA from other living organisms.

Up to a sixth of its genetic material is imported from bacteria and archea – micro-organisms – so acting almost like armour plating for its extreme lifestyle.

Experiments show that if you freeze a tardigrade at minus 80C for a year – or even ten – it will be moving around on its stumpy legs within 20 minutes of thawing.

When researchers began to peel back its genetic make up they discovered tardigrades acquire about 6,000 foreign genes through a process called horizontal gene transfer.

Tardigrade – found high in the Himalayas to 13,000ft below the surface of the sea – has the ability to repair DNA damaged in extreme conditions by absorbing a mosaic of genes from different species.

The study by Thomas Boothby, Bob Goldstein and collaborators has been published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, and not only raises questions about foreign DNA and survival in extreme environments, but also stretches conventional views of how DNA is inherited.

Another microscopic creature known as a rotifer was the previous record-holder for having the most foreign DNA, but it has about half as much as the tardigrade.

Most animals, by contrast, have less than one per cent of their genome from foreign DNA.

“We think of the tree of life, with genetic material passing vertically from mum and dad. But with horizontal gene transfer becoming more widely accepted and more well known, at least in certain organisms, it is beginning to change the way we think about evolution and inheritance of genetic material and the stability of genomes.

“So instead of thinking of the tree of life, we can think about the web of life and genetic material crossing from branch to branch. So it’s exciting. We are beginning to adjust our understanding of how evolution works.”

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