G-Equivalent Acceleration Tolerance in the Eutardigrade Species Hypsibius dujardini
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Tardigrades are microscopic organisms renowned for their ability to survive extreme environmental conditions. Tardigrade extreme-tolerance research has centered on the ability to withstand desiccation, low and high temperatures, and high hydrostatic pressure and radiation levels. Tardigrade tolerance to hypergravity, however, has yet to be described. We used the eutardigrade species Hypsibius dujardini to investigate short-term tolerance to g-equivalent accelerations (i.e., mimicking g-forces). Data obtained from specimens centrifuged between 3421g and 16,060g for 1 min inclusively reveal tolerance in an acceleration-dependent relation, with lower survivorship and egg production at higher accelerations. This is the first study to demonstrate tardigrade potential for tolerance to hypergravity and describe expected effects on tardigrade survival and reproduction. These findings will prove to be useful in lithopanspermia research (i.e., viable spread in meteoritic rocks). Key Words: Astrobiology-Extreme tolerance-Hypergravity-Tardigrade. Astrobiology 17, 55-60.
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