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Tardigrades are at the ready

The water bear, an arthropod also known as a tardigrade, lumbers across moist surfaces of mosses and lichens. But when those dry up, the water bear goes into a suspended state that could last anywhere from a few months to a century. The key is the sugar trehalose. As water becomes scarce, trehalose inside the water bear loses water. Instead of forming sharp-edged crystals that can damage DNA, membranes, and cells, the sugar transforms into a glassy state. This sugar-glass surrounds the water bear’s molecules, protecting them from high temperatures and also preventing chemical reactions and denaturation. All it takes to revive the water bear is water.

Biomimetic idea: Don’t lose track of the good ideas and relationships that you still haven't been able to put into action. Develop a system for recording these ideas. Keep them ready to spring to life when the right opportunity presents itself. Good ideas and relationships are an asset that can be cashed in when the moment is right.

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To read more about research on the water bear, consult Sherry Ritter (2012) Water Bear Inspires Refrigeration-free Storage  Conservation Magazine.

Photo provided by Goldstein lab - tardigrades via Wikimedia Commons.