Agriculture
Getting the dirt on carbon
Watering the Air
Seeds of the Future
Amphibians
Salamanders
Toads
Poison Dart Frogs
Animals
Clone Wars
Putting a Mouse on Pause
New Monkey Business
Behavior
Mice sense each other's fear
Wake Up, Sleepy Gene
Making light of sleep
Birds
Condors
Dodos
Parakeets
Chemistry and Materials
Gooey Secrets of Mussel Power
Nanomagnets Corral Oil
Mother-of-Pearl on Ice
Computers
The science of disappearing
Look into My Eyes
Galaxies on the go
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Hunting by Sucking, Long Ago
Big Fish in Ancient Waters
South America's sticky tar pits
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Warmest Year on Record
Ice Age Melting and Rising Seas
Springing forward
Environment
A Change in Climate
Hazy with a Chance of Sunshine
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Finding the Past
Little People Cause Big Surprise
Fakes in the museum
Stonehenge Settlement
Fish
Nurse Sharks
A Jellyfish's Blurry View
Pygmy Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Food for Life
How Super Are Superfruits?
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Problems with Prepositions
Whoever vs. Whomever
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Mathematics
Math is a real brain bender
Detecting True Art
Math Naturals
Human Body
Walking to Exercise the Brain
Cell Phones and Possible Health Hazards
A Fix for Injured Knees
Invertebrates
Bedbugs
Insects
Daddy Long Legs
Mammals
Quokkas
Bandicoot
Killer Whales
Parents
How children learn
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Physics
Extra Strings for New Sounds
Black Hole Journey
The Particle Zoo
Plants
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Flower family knows its roots
Springing forward
Reptiles
Crocodilians
Snakes
Caimans
Space and Astronomy
Slip-sliding away
Unveiling Titan
Chaos Among the Planets
Technology and Engineering
Crime Lab
Bionic Bacteria
Dancing with Robots
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
Pronouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
Transportation
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Reach for the Sky
Robots on the Road, Again
Weather
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
The solar system's biggest junkyard
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Add your Article

Sugary Survival Skill

Dehydration dooms most animals. Humans, for example, die if their bodies lose about 12 percent of their water. But some tough little critters can get through long periods of drought. One bug survives dry times by entering a dehydrated state. Now, scientists have discovered the sugary secret behind this feat. The larvae of an African fly known as Polypedilum vanderplanki live in the bottom of rain puddles in the African desert. When the dry season hits, and their habitats dry up, they can endure an almost complete loss of body water. They can persist in this dormant state, which is similar to a very deep sleep, for up to 17 years. Just add water, and before long the dead-looking critters are moving and feeding again. Most other animals that have been known to freeze-dry—sea monkeys (brine shrimp) and water bears (tardigrades), for example—are microscopic. Biologists have known for years that a sugar called trehalose plays a role in the drought-survival tactics of these species. In water bears and sea monkeys, small command centers of cells remain hydrated during dormancy. In cells throughout the rest of the body, however, water is replaced with the sugar trehalose. How does this special sugar allow cells, let alone small creatures, to survive? Scientists have long thought trehalose keeps the cells from falling apart by turning into a glassy state. This state is much like melted table sugar that has solidified into hard candy drops. A series of new studies show that's exactly what happens in the fly P. vanderplanki. Takashi Okuda of the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences in Tsukuba, Japan, and his collaborators collected P. vanderplanki—which look more like mosquitoes than flies—and got them to breed in the lab. This provided a steady supply of young larvae for the scientists to study. The researchers then used a technology called infrared imaging to visualize and measure the amount of water and heat in the larvae's tissues. The study showed that the trehalose was uniformly distributed throughout P. vanderplanki's bodies. When the researchers turned up the heat, they found the larvae's absorption of heat peaked at around 70° Celsius (158° Fahrenheit). That's the same temperature at which solid table sugar begins to melt. The findings showed that the trehalose sugar had, indeed, been in a glassy state. A second experiment showed that trehalose sugars had bonded with the cells' outer layer or membrane. This protected the cells' insides from extreme distortion during dehydration. Okuda says he and others would like to steal P. vanderplanki's secret to learn, for example, how to store people's blood in a dried form until it is needed for medical uses such as transfusions. The main challenge, he says, is to get trehalose to penetrate the membranes of red and white blood cells. If this could be done, the dehydration technique could eventually be used to preserve entire organs.—Susan Gaidos Power Words From The American Heritage® Student Science Dictionary, The American Heritage® Children's Science Dictionary, and other sources. dehydration The process of losing or removing water or moisture. dormant state An inactive state in which growth stops and metabolism is slowed. habitat The area or natural environment in which an animal or plant normally lives, such as a desert, coral reef or freshwater lake. heat absorption The process of taking in heat and holding it. During the day the Earth takes in and stores heat from the sun through absorption. infrared Relating to the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths longer than those of visible red light but shorter than those of microwaves. larva An animal in an early stage of development that differs greatly in appearance from its adult stage. Larvae are adapted to different environments and ways of life than adults and go through a process of metamorphosis to change into adults. transfusion The transfer of blood from one person to another, often to replace blood lost due to injury or surgery.

Sugary Survival Skill
Sugary Survival Skill








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™