Microscopic ‘water bears’ in the service of medical imaging?

Tiny, peculiar and creepy but in a cuddly sort of way, eight-legged tardigrades—also known as “water bears”—may help advance radiation safety in medical imaging.

According to a study in Nature Communications, the microscopic creatures sport a protein that protects DNA against all sorts of stressors, including ionizing radiation.

More to the point, the researchers found that “tardigrade-tinged human cells” can “suppress x-ray induced damage by about 40 percent,” according to coverage of the study posted at Nature.com.

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