Tardigrades in Space

I really dislike tardigrades.  It seemed  there for a while everywhere I went they followed….  tardigrades to my left…  tardigrades to my right.. in back … in front…..

Now if they were furry and kitten-like, I could handle it.. but they are creepy…

Water bear, SEM

For those who are not aware a paper came out in 2015 that linked  tardigrades to get ready for this… instant transportation….


well actually no but heck facts ruin a good story……. okay let me set this up

The paper (Evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer from the draft genome of a tardigrade) made the claim that tardigrades could absorb foreign  DNA from around them. This process is called horizontal gene transfer (HGT) which is a real scientific phenomena but for plants, not animals.

Shock and dismay (sarcasm is evident) when a second paper denounces the claims came out in 2016 (No evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer in the genome of the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini).

A third paper (Genome of a tardigrade: Horizontal gene transfer or bacterial contamination?) only help to debunked the whole issue when it announced the first paper had misidentified the foreign DNA which was in reality tardigrades’ own DNA.

Ouch that had to hurt

So what has this to do with the  instant pop into another galaxy????

Well apparently Star Trek writers read about this paper and used the idea of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in their newly “discovered” system DASH (Displacement Activated Spore Hub) works through mushroom like spores to allow the ship to go instantly from this galaxy to that one….

….and that folks is how science in Star Trek wold has tardigrades in space….  the tardigrades are a bit different as you can see below….


So we have Spice in Dune with the Guild Navigators becoming worms thingies and now  giant mutated tardigrade… what no cute kittens speed up travel??????


About jasterling

One part of my life is in the science of anthropology and archaeology where I did comparative work. My other life that I am now pursuing is writing along the lines of fantasy/sci fi fictional writing as my one way to stay sane in this other insane world. Please enjoy the selections you will find in my blog.
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