Facial view of the tardigrade, Ramazzottius varieornatus (c) Tanaka S Sagara H Kunieda
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Video

Meet Earth's indestructible micro-beast

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

  • 20 Sep 2016
Go to next video: Meet science's most famous insect