Can find out how they differed.Introduction:Radiation can

Can Water Bear Proteins Protect Human Cells from Radiation?Alli Schifko12 December 2017Third Period Honors BiologyAbstract: DNA in human cells are damaged by radiation, and even things as mundane as the sun can severely impact their function. However, a small microscopic animal called a tardigrade has a natural defense against this problem. This small animal produces a protein called Dsup, which forms a protective layer around their DNA. If human cells could be successfully engineered to produce this same protein, it could help protect people against almost all forms of radiation, likely resulting in lower rates of cancer, birth defects, and radiation sickness. Tardigrades are microscopic organisms that can survive almost anywhere in the world. They are resistant to most forms of radiation. There are two methods commonly used by scientists to manipulate genes, CRISPR, and gene splicing. CRISPR is newer and more precise than gene splicing and uses a protein for precision, while gene splicing uses enzymes to isolate the gene. There have been two other studies that investigated the reaction of water bears to radiation. In one, the tardigrades’ genes for producing Dsup were introduced into human kidney cells. In the other, two different species of tardigrade were sent into space and exposed to cosmic radiation and various types of UV radiation. In order to replicate the previous claims, scientists created three control groups and three variable groups of human skin cells. The variable groups had the gene for producing Dsup, while the control did not. Each pair of groups was exposed to different types of radiation. At the end, the scientists recorded the abilities of the cells to carry out normal functions and checked how much of the DNA was intact. They then compared the results to find out how they differed.Introduction:Radiation can severely damage human cells. UV radiation, for example, can damage skin cells and cause painful sunburns that lead to skin cancer. Some types of radiation can cause radiation sickness, which can be fatal (Hayward, 2017). Most living things are negatively affected by radiation because it damages DNA inside their cells (Hayward, 2017). Yet, one animal produces a protein that protects it from most forms of radiation (Coghlan, 2016). This protein could help protect human cells against harmful radiation like UV and X-Rays. This animal is the tardigrade, more commonly known as the water bear. Tardigrades are microscopic organisms best known for being able to survive in almost any environment (Tenlen, 2017). They mostly eat algaes, bacteria, and plant cells, and they sometimes eat rotifers and other small animals, some even eat other water bears (Tenlen, 2017). They are usually found in moist environments like mosses, lichens, soil, and shallow pools, but have been found in more extreme environments like the seafloor, hot springs, and the Arctic  (Tenlen, 2017). When these small animals are extremely dehydrated, or desiccated, they produce large amounts of a protein that surrounds their cells and turns them to glass until they come back into contact with water, at which point the protein melts and they revive themselves (Hesman, 2016). Another ability of the water bear that helps makes it so hardy is that it produces a protein called Dsup, which is short for damage suppression (Coghlan, 2016). This protein encases the animals’ DNA and protects it from radiation and other damage that could interfere with their cell function (Coghlan, 2016). Radiation is all around us and is not usually harmful, it can even be useful, like in science, medicine, and energy, but if it has large doses, strong intensities, or accumulated damage, it can have very dangerous effects on the body (Hayward, 2017). This is because radiation can corrupt cell DNA, which can have a number of harmful side effects (Hayward, 2017). For example, X-Rays can cause cancer, UV can cause sunburn and skin cancer, gamma radiation can cause birth defects, and nuclear waste can cause fatal radiation sickness (Hayward, 2017). If exposed to too much radiation, the DNA strands can sometimes break (Takuma & Takakazu, 2017). If the DNA is damaged enough, the cell can turn cancerous and begin multiplying out of control, causing tumors (Hayward, 2017). Exposure to radiation can have extreme consequences on the human body. Radiation exposure damages cells and can affect the body’s ability to fight infection, it can also cause long-lasting injury, and in severe cases, even death (Kennedy, 2017). One new method of genetic engineering is CRISPR, which was invented in 2012 (Rubenstein, 2017). CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindrome repeat) is a new gene editing technology that uses a protein called Cas9 to break the DNA at very specific locations. (Rubenstein, 2017). Scientists can then use these cut pieces of DNA to edit or replace the DNA of another organism (Rubenstein, 2017). This method is much faster and more precise than earlier methods (Rubenstein, 2017). Another common genetic engineering technique is gene splicing. They use an enzyme called a restriction enzyme to break the DNA molecule and isolate the gene (Rubenstein, 2017). When scientists use this technique, they take one small portion of DNA from one organism and attach it to DNA from another organism (Rubenstein, 2017).In a study by Takekazu Kuneida (2016), the scientists discovered that the reason the tardigrade was able to survive large amounts of radiation. They discovered that the water bear produced the protein Dsup (Coghlan, 2016). Then they genetically engineered human kidney cells to produce Dsup. (Coghlan, 2016). When the genetically engineered kidney cells were exposed to X-Ray radiation, they had a 40-50 percent decrease in the damage done to the cells’ DNA. (Coghlan, 2016). In another study, two species of tardigrade were sent into space and exposed to different levels of radiation (Space bears: A tale of survival, 2015). All three groups were exposed to cosmic radiation, while two of the groups were exposed to different levels of UV radiation (Space bears: A tale of survival, 2015). When the water bears arrived back on Earth, they collected data on whether the water bears were alive, and out of the ones who survived, which could reproduce (Space bears: A tale of survival, 2015). They found that those tardigrades that were exposed to high amounts of UV radiation had lower survival and reproduction rates, but some were still able to survive (Space bears: A tale of survival, 2015). Although UV radiation was the hardest on the two species, they were being directly exposed to the solar radiation, on Earth there is an atmosphere to help block out the harshest effects of the radiation, so the Dsup protein could still help protect human skin cells from the sun, preventing painful sunburn and skin cancers. There was also a difference in the survival and reproduction rate between the two species of tardigrade (Space bears: A tale of survival, 2015).Methods: The team of scientists first obtained skin cells from a randomly selected group of 300 volunteers. The cells were kept in a sterile lab and split into 6 equal groups. The scientists used CRISPR in order to isolate the gene that causes tardigrade cells to produce Dsup. It was then introduced into three of the groups of skin cells. The cultures of cells were grown for one month. Each pair of groups (1 control and 1 variable) were then exposed to multiple types of radiation. One Dsup group and one control group were exposed to UV radiation. They were left out in the sun for one month in order to be exposed to as much radiation as possible and to simulate the amount of UV radiation a person gets each day. The second group was exposed to X-Rays. Both of the groups were exposed to strong X-Rays through medical equipment three to four times a week for one month. The same machine was always used in order to ensure that the amount of radiation was always constant. The last group was exposed to radiation from toxic and radioactive substances like plutonium and uranium. The cells were placed in a dish with the materials. The same metals were kept in the dish for a month. After the study came to a close, the scientists collected data on whether or not the cells could function normally, and whether the cell could still perform its specialized functions. They observed whether or not the cells could reproduce at a normal rate and observed them to find out if the cells had become cancerous, and how much of the DNA survived. The team then compared the results to find out what the differences were between the groups. They compared the results and found out if there was a significant difference between the control group and the group with the Dsup producing genes.References:Coghlan, A. (2016). Water bear genes can shield our cells. New Scientist, 231(3092), 10. Retrieved from: Hayward, P. (2017). Radiation. In World Book Advanced. Retrieved from Hesman Saey, T. (2016). For water bears, the glass is all full. Science News, 189(1), 13. Retrieved from: Kennedy, A. R. (2017). Radiation sickness. In World Book Advanced. Retrieved from: Rubenstein, I. (2017). Genetic engineering. In World Book Advanced. Retrieved from: Space bears: A tale of survival. (2015). In Today’s Science. New York: Facts On File. Retrieved from: bears  Takuma, H., & Takekazu, K. (2017). DNA Protection Protein, a Novel Mechanism of Radiation Tolerance: Lessons from Tardigrades. Life (2075-1729), 7(2), 1-11. Retrieved from: Tenlen, J. R. (2017). Water bear. In Academic World Book. Retrieved from: