Tardigrades’ list of superpowers grows

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They have, we are told, survived five mass extinctions:

After a month, though, Suma found the sweet spot for growing the tardigrades and began to investigate their hardiness to various environmental stressors. He and Eswarappa were particularly curious about the critters’ resistance to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Placed under a germicidal UV lamp for 15 minutes—an exposure that would kill most microorganisms—the tardigrades came out unscathed. Curious if they could confer the UV protection to C. elegans and another species of water bear, the researchers ground up the new tardigrade to create a paste with the mystery UV-resistance substance that they could slather on the other creatures. As they were doing this, they noticed that the paste fluoresced under UV light.

Ashley Yeager, “Tardigrades’ List of Super Powers Grows Ever Longer” at The Scientist

They couldn’t withstand humans grinding them up but hey… .

6 Replies to “Tardigrades’ list of superpowers grows

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    This is especially interesting:
    “Fluorescent molecules absorb light at higher wavelengths than they emit and prevent the harmful radiation from damaging animals’ cells. ”

    A similar trick is common in acoustics. Damping a harmful or annoying frequency down to a harmless intensity is hard, but transforming the energy into a resonance at a different frequency is easier. Trees transform DC wind into a broad range of vortices, each carrying only a small proportion of the energy. Grass blades do the same thing to a DC water wave, breaking it up into eddies that stay in one place and absorb into the soil.

    Natural superhet.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    They also had a starring role in Star Trek: Discovery.

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    It’s sort of surprising that health food and supplement companies haven’t tried selling Tardigrade Paste. They’ve been selling all sorts of dubious things, including silver compounds, to boost long life. Why not try Extract Of The Immortals? This research indicates that it might even work.

  4. 4
    Querius says:

    Amazing! Bummer for the tardigrades though.

    Interesting comparisons, Polistra. You remind me of what people experience as they walk through Muir Woods in Mill Valley, California. There’s a massive sense of peacefulness, quiet, and eternity.

    Believe it or not, people used to ingest radium or radon-gassed water, administer electric currents, and swallow bits of Egyptian mummies for health and longevity.


  5. 5
    EDTA says:

    >Placed under a germicidal UV lamp for 15 minutes—an exposure that would kill most microorganisms—the tardigrades came out unscathed.

    But they did come out with a nice tan.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    Placed under a germicidal UV lamp for 15 minutes—an exposure that would kill most microorganisms—the tardigrades came out unscathed.

    Actually there is a nuance to this. A nuance that directly undermines the ‘bottom up’ materialistic explanations of Darwinists in which they hold that DNA is the ‘blueprint’ for life:

    Extreme Genome Repair – 2009
    Excerpt: If its naming had followed, rather than preceded, molecular analyses of its DNA, the extremophile bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans might have been called Lazarus. After shattering of its 3.2 Mb genome into 20–30 kb pieces by desiccation or a high dose of ionizing radiation, D. radiodurans miraculously reassembles its genome such that only 3 hr later fully reconstituted nonrearranged chromosomes are present, and the cells carry on, alive as normal.,,,

    In the lab, scientists coax E. coli to resist radiation damage – March 17, 2014
    Excerpt: ,,, John R. Battista, a professor of biological sciences at Louisiana State University, showed that E. coli could evolve to resist ionizing radiation by exposing cultures of the bacterium to the highly radioactive isotope cobalt-60. “We blasted the cultures until 99 percent of the bacteria were dead. Then we’d grow up the survivors and blast them again. We did that twenty times,” explains Cox.
    The result were E. coli capable of enduring as much as four orders of magnitude more ionizing radiation, making them similar to Deinococcus radiodurans, a desert-dwelling bacterium found in the 1950s to be remarkably resistant to radiation. That bacterium is capable of surviving more than one thousand times the radiation dose that would kill a human.

    Oh well, so much for the Darwinian claim that DNA is the ‘bottom-up blueprint’ for life.

    Origin of life: A problem in the origin of information – April 2014
    Excerpt: A hallmark of life is the way information flows between different levels of organization. In non-living systems, information flows from the bottom up–the properties of the individual parts determine the fate of the system.
    But with living systems, that flow goes both ways. Not only genes dictate the nature of proteins which in turn affect the functioning of cells, tissues and organisms, but the behavior of proteins, cells, and organisms also control gene expression. This is what Walker calls “top-down control” or “top-down causation.”
    And to Walker, this transition–from information seeping upward only to information flowing both up and down–is the key to understanding life’s origins. Put differently, the blueprint for building an organism isn’t stored in its DNA only, but it’s distributed in the state of the entire system.
    Dr. Sara Walker

    Of supplemental note to bottom-up vs. top-down causation

    How Does The World Work: Top-Down or Bottom-Up? – September 29, 2013
    Excerpt: To get an handle on how top-down causation works, (George) Ellis focuses on what’s in front of all us so much of the time: the computer. Computers are structured systems. They are built as a hierarchy of layers, extending from the wires in the transistors all the way up to the fully assembled machine, gleaming metal case and all.
    Because of this layering, what happens at the uppermost levels — like you hitting the escape key — flows downward. This action determines the behavior of the lowest levels — like the flow of electrons through the wires — in ways that simply could not be predicted by just knowing the laws of electrons. As Ellis puts it:
    “Structured systems such as a computer constrain lower level interactions, and thereby paradoxically create new possibilities of complex behavior.”
    Ellis likes to emphasize how the hierarchy of structure — from fully assembled machine through logic gates, down to transistors — changes everything for the lowly electrons. In particular, it “breaks the symmetry” of their possible behavior since their movements in the computer hardware are very different from what would occur if they were just floating around in a plasma blob in space.
    But the hardware, of course, is just one piece of the puzzle. This is where things get interesting. As Ellis explains:
    “Hardware is only causally effective because of the software which animates it: by itself hardware can do nothing. Both hardware and software are hierarchically structured with the higher level logic driving the lower level events.”
    In other words, it’s software at the top level of structure that determines how the electrons at the bottom level flow. Hitting escape while running Word moves the electrons in the wires in different ways than hitting escape does when running Photoshop. This is causation flowing from top to bottom.
    For Ellis, anything producing causes is real in the most basic sense of the word. Thus the software, which is not physical like the electrons, is just as real as those electrons. As Ellis puts it:
    “Hence, although they are the ultimate in algorithmic causation as characterized so precisely by Turing, digital computers embody and demonstrate the causal efficacy of non-physical entities. The physics allows this; it does not control what takes place. Computers exemplify the emergence of new kinds of causation out of the underlying physics, not implied by physics but rather by the logic of higher-level possibilities. … A combination of bottom-up causation and contextual affects (top-down influences) enables their complex functioning.”
    The consequences of this perspective for our view of the mind are straightforward and radical:
    “The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.”

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