What makes this creature almost invincible? Biologists have gained new insights

Tardigrade water bear

Tardigrades, also known as water bears, evolved over 500 million years ago.

Researchers are improving their understanding of the toughness of tardigrades.

Researchers at the University of Wyoming have learned more about the biological processes that allow tiny creatures known as tardigrades to endure harsh conditions, such as being completely dehydrated for years in suspended animation.

Thomas Boothby, an assistant professor of molecular biology, and colleagues discovered how trehalose, a sugar, interacts with proteins to enable tardigrades to survive in the absence of water. Their findings were recently published in the journal Communication Biology.

Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are less than half a millimeter long and can tolerate being completely dried out, frozen to just above[{” attribute=””>absolute zero (approximately minus 458 degrees

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