Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Common Aquatic Animals Show Extreme Resistance To Radiation

Date:
March 27, 2008
Source:
Harvard University
Summary:
Scientists have found that a common class of freshwater invertebrate animals called bdelloid rotifers are extraordinarily resistant to ionizing radiation, surviving and continuing to reproduce after doses of gamma radiation much greater than that tolerated by any other animal species studied to date. The finding could stimulate new study of free radicals' role in inflammation, cancer, aging.

Scientists at Harvard University have found that a common class of freshwater invertebrate animals called bdelloid rotifers are extraordinarily resistant to ionizing radiation, surviving and continuing to reproduce after doses of gamma radiation much greater than that tolerated by any other animal species studied to date.

Because free radicals such as those generated by radiation have been implicated in inflammation, cancer, and aging in higher organisms, the findings -- published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Harvard's Matthew Meselson and graduate student Eugene Gladyshev -- could stimulate new lines of research into these medically important problems.

"Bdelloid rotifers are far more resistant to ionizing radiation than any of the hundreds of other animal species for which radiation resistance has been examined," says Meselson, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "They are able to recover and resume normal reproduction after receiving a dose of radiation that shatters their genomes, causing hundreds of DNA double-strand breaks which they are nevertheless able to repair."

Meselson and Gladyshev found that the bdelloid rotifers Adineta vaga and Philodina roseola remained reproductively viable after doses of radiation roughly five times greater than other classes of rotifers and other animals could endure.

Such radiation resistance appears not to be the result of any special protection of DNA itself against breakage, the researchers say, but instead reflects bdelloid rotifers' extraordinary ability to protect their DNA-repairing machinery from radiation damage.

Roughly a half-millimeter in size and commonly observed under microscopes in high-school biology classes, bdelloid rotifers are highly unusual in several regards: They appear to be exclusively asexual, have relatively few transposable genes, and can survive and reproduce after complete desiccation at any stage of their life cycle. Meselson and Gladyshev hypothesize that it's this last property that explains bdelloids' apparently unique resistance to radiation.

Bdelloid rotifers have been widely studied since at least 1702, when the renowned Dutch scientist and microscopy pioneer van Leeuwenhoek added water to dust retrieved from a rain gutter on his house and observed the organisms in the resulting fluid. He subsequently described the creatures in a letter to Britain's Royal Society, which still counts an envelope of van Leeuwenhoek's rain-gutter dust among its holdings.

Meselson and Gladyshev's work is supported by the National Science Foundation's Eukaryotic Genetics Program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Harvard University. "Common Aquatic Animals Show Extreme Resistance To Radiation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325095239.htm>.
Harvard University. (2008, March 27). Common Aquatic Animals Show Extreme Resistance To Radiation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325095239.htm
Harvard University. "Common Aquatic Animals Show Extreme Resistance To Radiation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325095239.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins