Your roof could har­bour a mi­nor mir­a­cle…

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild December -

The ‘moss pigs’ on your house or garage roof have a re­mark­able se­cret: cryp­to­bio­sis. This is the abil­ity to shut down when con­di­tions be­come too toxic, dry, hot or cold. Tardi­grades are masters at this and can slow down their me­tab­o­lism

un­til it’s barely tick­ing over. This is ac­com­pa­nied by an abil­ity to lose over 99 per cent of their wa­ter. In any other crea­ture, this would cause ir­repara­ble cell dam­age. But not so for our moss pigs. Within their cells, they form a kind of ‘bio­glass’ – a pro­tein that pro­tects the in­tegrity of the cells.

De­cem­ber 2017

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