Engineering radiation resistant animals (in C. elegans)
Nature is full of amazing tools which were developed over the course of evolution to help organisms adapt to a wide variety of extreme ecosystems.
One such tool is a tardigrade-unique protein known as DSUP. Some tardigrade species utilize DSUP to prevent double strand breaks due to oxidative stress caused by desiccation.
Coincidentally, DNA damage via oxidative stress is the primary mechanism of DNA damage in radiation exposure. As a result, tardigrades are not only resistant to complete desiccation but also extremely high levels of radiation.
This project aims to test the viability and effectiveness of DSUP expression in C. elegans as a means of increasing their radiation resistance, desiccation resistance, and lifespan.