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Written by Ahmet Tuna Balci

Most Durable Bio: Tardigrade

Tardigrade is an animal branch of the Ecdysozoa supergroup. In this group, there is a 3-layered membrane made of organic material, which usually sheds as living things grow. However, Tardigrade has a 4-layered membrane and it is different from others. The common aspect of the bios in this group is that they grow by molting, which is named ecdysis. Thanks to this aspect they have, they can both replace their worn skin periodically and keep their resistance to the environment at a stable level [3].

Aspects and Habitat of Tardigrade

Tardigrade is one of the most prominent and well-known microscopic bios among the thousands of bios included in the Ecdysozoa supergroup. It was first discovered by the German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773. There are around 1300 species of Tardigrade. All of these species have some minor characteristics that set them apart. However, except for these minor differences, they generally have common aspects. They need a thin layer of water around their body to prevent dehydration, so they are considered aquatic. They can also live in any environment, from the deep sea to deserts. Their preferences are mostly lichens and freshwaters because they generally like to live in wet places. As it is known, the Tardigrade is the most durable animal in the world. So how can they have this ability which is different from other animals? Tardigrades have a protein called Dsup in their cells, and with this protein, they can overcome radiation and environmental conditions, especially many harmful X-Rays. According to some research, it has been determined that there are fewer radiation-induced DNA breaks in the Tardigrade cell with the Dsup protein, but a significant increase in the rate of DNA breaks is observed in a cell without the protein, revealing that this protein prevents the Tardigrade cells from being damaged by surrounding them. It is stated by many researchers that this important protein may be a useful substance for humanity in the future, especially in the field of medicine for unanswerable diseases [1,2].

Another important aspect of Tardigrade is “cryptobiosis.” Tardigrades become passive when their living conditions are not suitable, which is called cryptobiosis, and where their metabolic activities come to a standstill. With this aspect, they can survive at very high altitudes, in the depths of the seas, and very cold regions such as Antarctica. Also, the ability of Tardigrades to survive even in areas with no signs of life, such as space, or extremely hot conditions such as deserts and some levels of fire. It is a mystery of Tardigrade, how can this bio survive in extremely hard conditions which other animals cannot. However, of course, this bio is not immortal like all other animals [4].

  1. Chavez, C., Cruz-Becerra, G., Fei, J., Kassavetis, G. A., & Kadonaga, J. T. (2019, October 1). The tardigrade damage suppressor protein binds to nucleosomes and protects DNA from hydroxyl radicals. eLife. Retrieved November 19, 2022, from

  2. Mínguez-Toral, M., Cuevas-Zuviría, B., Garrido-Arandia, M., & Pacios, L. F. (2020, August 7). A computational structural study on the DNA-protecting role of the tardigrade-unique dsup protein. Nature News. Retrieved November 19, 2022, from

  3. NBCUniversal News Group. (2019, October 14). What is a tardigrade? Retrieved November 19, 2022, from

  4. Tardigrade. Animals. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2022, from


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