Environmental adaptations: radiation tolerance

K. Ingemar Jönsson, Eliana B Levin, Andrzej Wojcik, Siamak Haghdoost, Mats Harms-Ringdahl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in book


Several studies in different species have documented that tardigrades are among the most radiation-tolerant animals on Earth, surviving doses of ionizing radiation on the order of kGy. Both low-LET and high-LET radiation have been used with no apparent differences in the tolerance of the animals. Tolerance to ionizing radiation in tardigrades also seems to be independent of whether the animal has entered a dry anhydrobiotic state or is hydrated with normal activity. However, when exposed to UV radiation, desiccated tardigrades show a higher tolerance than hydrated animals. Recent studies in several species have shown that tardigrade embryos have considerably lower tolerance to ionizing radiation compared to adults, and embryos in the early stage of development are clearly more sensitive to radiation than those in the late developmental stage. The molecular mechanisms behind radiation tolerance in tardigrades are still largely unclear, but available evidence suggests that mechanisms related to both the avoidance of DNA damage and the repair of damage are involved.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWater bears
Subtitle of host publicationthe biology of tardigrades
EditorsRalph O
Place of PublicationLund
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-95702-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-95701-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Zoology (10608)


  • tardigrada biodiversity anhydrobiosis cryobiosis cryptobiosis diapause dormancy dormant state eutardigrades heat tolerance heterotardigrades extreme environments parthenogentic


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