Asexual, Tough-as-Hulk Animals Withstand Hulk-Level Radiation

By Lizzie Buchen | March 25, 2008 5:23 pm

The microscopic bdelloid rotifer—best known as an all-females species that hasn’t had sex for 100 million years—has thwarted the attempts of Eugene Gladyshev and Matthew Meselson to mutate their genes with blasts of gamma radiation. Although the radiation shattered their genomes—it was a far higher dose than had ever been tolerated by an animal to date—the plucky, resourceful gals sewed their chromosomes back together and not only survived the blasts but continued to reproduce.

bdelloid.JPG

Bdelloids employ this same resilience in the face of another type of dry spell—they are known to repair their genes, survive, and reproduce even after complete desiccation. The authors believe that they used a similar trick to shrug off the massive radiation doses, and they hope to learn how humans can resist similar gene breakage due to free radicals, a bugbear that’s implicated in cancer and aging.

Image Credit: Diego Fontaneto

  • erin m

    wow, hurray for females! strong, resilient, and independent.

    go Hillary!

  • Paul Heinz

    Please don’t disparage the poor little rotifer by comparing it to that woman. Obama. Obama. Can we puh-leeeeeease get moving with this?

    Oh, and interesting about the rotifers. who’d’ve thunk?

  • Pingback: DISCOVER.com Science, Technology and The Future()

  • Angie

    I am in total agreeance with Erin.

  • http://www.google.com Nina A. Savage

    There are definitely a lot of particulars like that to take into consideration. That could be a nice level to carry up. I supply the ideas above as basic inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you convey up where the most important factor can be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged round issues like that, however I am certain that your job is clearly recognized as a good game. Both boys and girls feel the affect of only a moment’s pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.

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