Water bear bug: there are secrets to deal with dehydration

  If there is a devastating nuclear war on the earth, you and I will definitely be finished. It is hard to say that even the tenacious cockroach can get the “free card”. But there is an animal, and scientists are convinced that it is absolutely free from death. That is the water bear.
  The water bear bug is a very small bug, with a minimum of 50 microns and a maximum of 1.4 millimeters. You have to use a microscope to see it. Under the microscope, it looks like a sly bear, so it gets its name. In terms of biological classification, water bear insects belong to slow-moving animals and have more than 900 varieties.
  High-strength anti-dehydration “martial arts”
  water bear insects generally live in moss or small ponds. These are all places where droughts and droughts are uncertain, and it is easy to cause dehydration. For most animals, dehydration can have catastrophic consequences: due to the lack of sufficient water support in the cell, the cell membrane collapses and shrinks, which kills the cell. However, the water bear insect is not afraid of dehydration, and its anti-dehydration “martial arts” is very strong.
  Let us first look at the level of its “martial arts” high strength against dehydration:
  In the 1920s, a German scientist placed the water bears in a dormant state in an environment of 150 ° C and -200 ° C, respectively. Under what circumstances, as long as the normal temperature is restored and water is given, the water bear insect will be revived.
  Water bears can live in microwave ovens for a very long time, and humans will be cooked in less than a minute under microwave ovens of the same intensity. After adding water to the moss specimens collected in the museum for 120 years, the water bears can be revived. The water bear insects are completely air-dried, and after 10 years, the water can be instantly lived. It is also one of the few species on Earth that can survive in a near-vacuum space environment.
  The incredible anti-dehydration ability of this little bug is really amazing, as if it is an extraterrestrial life, and it has always puzzled scientists.
  But this secret has finally been cracked recently.
  Different strategies for the same set of genes
  Scientists analyzed two species of water bears and found that the ability of water bears to resist dehydration stems from a unique set of proteins in their bodies. These proteins help cells retain their original shape even when they are dehydrated inside.
  However, the strategies for these two water bear insects to deal with dehydration are slightly different: a water bear insect usually does not have these anti-dehydration proteins in the body and needs to be prematurely manufactured 24 hours in advance; in another water bear, these proteins are It is always ready.
  This difference may be related to how quickly water loss occurs in the environment in which the two water bears live. Water bear worms that need early warning live in small ponds. Water in this place will not evaporate at once. It may take 24 to 48 hours for the water bear worms to face the threat of dehydration, which leaves it enough. Time to catch anti-dehydration proteins. Water bear worms, which do not require early warning, are common in the moss of concrete pavements. In that environment, animals are threatened with dehydration within 30 minutes, so the body should always be prepared to resist dehydration.
  Interestingly, although the strategies used by the two water bears are different, genomic analysis shows that the genes responsible for coping with them are almost identical, the only difference being the regulation of these genes. Just like the fan of the same brand, it only sets the wind level differently.
  This discovery has great potential for application in medicine. For example, it provides a new way to preserve and transport vaccines. Currently, some vaccines must be stored with liquid nitrogen, but in many places this refrigeration condition is not available. If a vaccine with the anti-dehydration properties of water bears is developed, the vaccine can be dried, stored and transported at room temperature.