Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Life and death are mutually exclusive states. But....

Polypedilum vanderplanki: an anhydrobiotic insect as a potential tool for space biology 


Life and death are mutually exclusive states But some organisms showing no sign of living due to complete desiccation are nevertheless able to resume active life after rehydration This peculiar biological state is referred to as anhydrobiosis Larvae of the sleeping chironomid P vanderplanki living in temporary pools in semi-arid areas on the African continent become completely desiccated upon drought but can revive after water becomes available upon the next rain The anhydrobiotic larvae can stand other extreme conditions such as exposure to 100 r C -270 r C 100 ethanol 7kGy gamma-rays and vacuum As space environment is a typical extreme condition we propose that the sleeping chironomid could be a potential experimental animal for space-related study and indeed such experiments are rightly underway at ISS

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