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Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 20, 2017, 02:30:20 pm »

How the water bear defies death even in the vacuum of space by wrapping its cells in glass

Tibi Puiu March 20, 2017

Tardigrade - otherwise know as a water bear

Tardigrades are the toughest, most resilient animals we know of. They can survive temperatures from 1 K (−458 °F; −272 °C) to about 420 K (300 °F; 150 °C), pressures six times greater than those found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a human, and the vacuum of outer space. One tardigrade female was brought back to life after being frozen for 30 years then birthed 14 healthy babies.

Water bear don’t care  ;D

Simply put, the tardigrade, also known as the water bear, is the most extreme survivalist out there.   If there’s an animal that knows how to make it against all odds, it’s this guy and, as you might imagine, a lot of people are interested to find out what its secret weapons are.

The water bear is able to withstand such extreme conditions by going into a sort of safe mode, as it dries up into a little barrel called a tun. In this form, neither heat, cold or the wretched vacuum of space can kill it. Essentially, the tiny bear which is smaller than 1 millimeter enters a state called anhydrobiosis during which the metabolism shuts down.

Now, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found another ace up the water bear’s sleeve. During a dry spell when water is scarce anti-dehydrating proteins called tardigrade-specific intrinsically disordered proteins (TDPs) become vitrified. When this happens all the tardigrade’s dehydration-sensitive tissue and cells become protected by a glass surface. This way, sensitive proteins and other biological molecules are locked in place. They can’t fold, they can’t break apart nor can they aggregate together, which explains how the animal can survive in space and then come back to life like nothing happened within an hour.

ALSO READ: We should prepare for bad surprises in the Arctic climate, new report finds

The video below shows how much the water bear shrinks when deprived of water.

The team led by Thomas Boothby intentionally subjected the tardigrades to conditions that would force them to dry out. Meanwhile, they carefully monitored the animal’s gene activity. Boothby and colleagues noticed a spike of activity in a group of genes when the TDPs were produced. When such genes were blocked through genetic engineering, the tardigrade died of dehydration.

When bacteria and yeast were artificially infused with the aforementioned genes, these became much more resilient in the face of dehydration. This remarkable experiment suggests that, at least partly, the tardigrade’s tricks can be passed down to creatures.

For instance, one interesting idea  would be to produce new genetically modified crops that carry TDP genes to help them survive droughts. California’s worst drought in history, which is still not over and sure as heck isn’t the last, serves as a reminder that such crops are badly needed.   

Previously, a 2008 study concluded that the tardigrade’s anhydrobiosis is linked to specialized sugars called trehalose. Tree frogs use the same sugar molecules to come with dry environments as well but not everyone was convinced the water bear uses the same mechanism because the study could only find trehalose-linked processes in only one species of tardigrade. Indeed, Boothby found tardigrades either don’t make or make very little amounts of trehalose.

It’s amazing however that TDPs work much in the same way as trehalose — they both protect cells by forming literally glass structures. So, what we’re essentially dealing with is yet another textbook example of convergent evolution — two animals (tardigrade and tree frog) totally unrelated from each other who evolved the same adaptive trait.

Agelbert NOTE: "Convergent Evolution" is one of those Darwinian Religion Euphemisms that true Darwinian believer scientists come up with when are faced with NON-Evolution but decide to stick the word, "evolution" into a mechanism that provides ZERO evidence for it. And then they, with chins held high and a haughty look in their eye, say Creationists are closed minded.  ::)

Another water bear trick involves using other proteins to shield its DNA against radiation. A previous research found  17.5 percent of a tardigrade’s genome was comprised of foreign DNA, including genes from bacterial species that can withstand extreme pressure and heat.

Next, the researchers plan on investigating other animals and even plant seeds which seem to survive desiccation to see whether they use the same proteins. Besides drought-resistant crops, such investigations might one day lead to amazing practical applications. One immediate application could be a new medium for storing vaccines and pharmaceuticals at room temperature by using dehydration instead of refrigeration. A much farther away application might involve dehydrating people to induce a hibernation-like state, which could be useful in interstellar flight.

Journal ref: T.C. Boothby et al., “Tardigrades use intrinsically disordered proteins to survive desiccation,” Molecular Cell, doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2017.02.018, 2017.


Agelbert NOTE: I think Trump would be a great test subject for dehydration, along with Bannon and all the other trumpers. We can worry about making the interstellar spaceship later. 

However, since we probably will not be able to rid ourselves of the trumpers (i.e. the Fascists/Republicans/Libertarians) or the Democrats any time soon, perhaps it is prudent to expect that the Humble Tardigrades will Inherit the Earth, AMEN! 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 22, 2015, 03:10:18 pm »

The amazing sea horse

by David Juhasz

The Creator offers few sights more incredible, and yet more delicately beautiful, than a living sea horse. It swims erect and slowly, with its tail twisting forward to perhaps grip a seaweed frond, while its alert eyes search for food or danger.

Sea horses make popular saltwater aquarium pets, and any public aquarium with them draws enthralled groups thronging to watch these elegant fish drifting around their tanks. Sometimes sea horses meet in midstream and tangle their curling tails. Then, just as elegantly, they uncoil them from each other and sedately swim away.

Sometimes seahorses meet in midstream and tangle their curling tails.

Sea horses usually live along the shore, among seaweed and other plants. They have only one mate, and generally don’t travel more than a few metres. Their size varies from about four to 30 centimetres (1½–12 inches), and they continue to grow throughout their three years of life.

There are various species of sea horses, including the dwarf sea horse (an Atlantic form smaller than any other), a brown sea horse of Europe, a large brown or blackish Pacific sea horse, and a medium-sized sea horse of Australia.

Unique creation

So unique is the sea horse that it is difficult to accept, as the evolutionists would like us to, that it is the product of purposeless evolutionary forces. In fact, study the sea horse carefully and you find evidence that points to its being wonderfully designed by God the Creator.

A protective bony armour cleverly protects it from imminent danger. So strong is this armour that it is almost impossible to crush a dried dead sea horse in your hands. Its tough skeleton makes it unappetizing for predators, so sea horses are usually left alone.

The female is totally enclosed in this protective armour, while the male is similarly enclosed except for the lower part of its abdomen. The armour surrounding its body often shows a number of bony rings.

The sea horse is unique among fishes in that its head is set at right angles to its body. It swims with its body held upright. It can bend its head down or up, but not from side to side. The inability to move its head from side to side would in other creatures create problems, but the Creator in His wisdom has designed the sea horse’s eyes to move independently, swivelling about to watch each side.

The sea horse uses its fins to swim vertically, and rises or sinks by cleverly altering the volume of gas within its swim bladder. If this bladder is damaged, and it loses even a tiny bit of gas, it sinks to the bottom, where it will lie helpless until death.

If the sea horse is the product of evolution, we must ask how this creature managed to survive while its bladder evolved? The whole idea of the sea horse’s complex bladder evolving by trial and error is unimaginable. Clearly, it is more reasonable to believe it was created through the work of the Master Designer.

Babies arrive by male!   :o  ;D

Probably the most amazing, if not bizarre, aspect of the sea horse is that the male gives birth to its live young. This strange phenomenon has been known for only the past century or so.

The male has at the base of its abdomen, where it lacks armour plating, a large skin pouch and a slit-like opening. The female lays the eggs directly into this pouch, where the male fertilizes them as they are deposited.

She may continue laying eggs until the pouch is full, perhaps with as many as 600 eggs. The lining inside the pouch becomes sponge-like and filled with blood vessels which play some part in nourishing the eggs. This is an extraordinary characteristic of the male sea horse. Egg-laying complete, the dad-to-be swims off with his swollen pouch—a living baby carriage.

Egg-laying complete, the dad-to-be swims off with his swollen pouch—a living baby carriage.

One or two months later he gives birth to tiny replicas of the adults. The little bundles of joy are squirted out until the pouch is empty. At times dad may use quite forceful muscular contractions to eject the last of his brood. It is an incredible sight when the young pour forth, and the process of giving birth is exhausting for father sea horse. Baby sea horses are not called ‘sea foals’—just ‘young’.

Evolution is at a loss to account for the sea horse’s reproductive functions. The whole process is simply too unorthodox. Indeed, the whole make-up of the sea horse is something of an enigma, if one tries to explain it as a product of evolution. As one authority said some years ago, ‘The “sea horse”? is in a similar category with the platypus, as far as evolution is concerned: it presents an enigma that baffles and frustrates all theories that seek to account for it! Admit the Divine Designer, and all is accounted for.’1

Fossil problem for evolutionists 

Design is evident in the seahorse, but the fossil record is another problem for those who believe sea horses have evolved. The evolutionist needs fossils showing a gradual development of lower animal life into the more complex sea horse to establish that the sea horse is the result of evolutionary processes over millions of years. Unfortunately for the evolutionist, ‘fossil sea horses are unknown’.2

Like countless creatures of the sea, sky and land, there is no link connecting the sea horse to any other form of life. Like all other basic kinds of creatures, the complex sea horse appears to have been created suddenly, as the book of Genesis implies.

Editor’s note: As Creation magazine has been continuously published since 1978, we are publishing some of the articles from the archives for historical interest, such as this. For teaching and sharing purposes, readers are advised to supplement these historic articles with more up-to-date ones suggested in the Related Articles and Further Reading below.

Related Articles
The Sea Horse
Enter the sea dragon
Pygmy pipehorse pipe dream

Further Reading
Marvellous Meerkats
Heard of elephants?
Hippo habits
Evolution of the rhinoceros? Preposterous!
Camels—confirmation of creation
Dugongs: ‘sirens’ of the sea
The Australian dingo—a wolf in dog’s clothing
Amazing armoured armadillos of the Americas
The bamboozling panda
The Sulawesi Bear Cuscus
The Colugo Challenge
Spectacular, surprising seals
Catching a kinkajou
The opossum’s tale
The platypus

Dear deer—when white ‘mutants’ have a selective advantage
Bears across the world …
The Mole
Sea lilies and starfish—splendours of the sea
Beetles … nature's workaholics
Fascinating cuttlefish
Bats—sophistication in miniature
Rats: no evolution!
Frogs—Jeremiah was not a bullfrog
Creation’s Crustaceans

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