Can this Indestructible Animal Revolutionize Organ Donation?

Have you heard of the tardigrade? This microscopic animal has an unbeatable claim to fame as the ultimate champion of survival in a hostile environment. For the 11th International Organ Donation Day, find out how this creature may help save thousands of lives for people waiting to receive an organ. ALL NEWS  |  Risk & Research
Oct 16, 2015

The tardigrade easily wins the title of the world's toughest animal: it can resist temperatures from over 150°C to under -300°C, bear atmospheric pressures of up to 1000 bars, withstand ultraviolet radiation and X-rays, and survive without water, oxygen, or light. This amazing power of survival may help advance research on preserving organs.

Every two hours, someone in Europe dies waiting for a transplant organ. Each organ transplant is a race against the clock to ensure the donor's organ reaches the patient in good condition. A Japanese researcher supported by the AXA Research Fund, Daiki Horikawa, is studying the tardigrade's DNA to extend the time an organ can be preserved. If Daiki Horikawa succeeds in isolating its genes and transferring them into human organs, donated organs could be preserved and even stored for longer periods, helping to save more lives.

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