Researchers have discovered a genetic survival secret of Earth’s “hardiest animal”. A gene that scientists identified in these strange, aquatic creatures – called tardigrades – helps them survive boiling, freezing and radiation.
The University of Tokyo-led team found a tardigrade-specific gene that codes for a DNA-protecting protein; that protein prevents DNA being damaged by wrapping around it like a blanket.
In future, the researchers say, it could be used to protect human cells.
Footage courtesy of D D Horikawa, T Kunieda, University of Tokyo
Video produced by Victoria Gill