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Developing tricks and tools to keep their enzymes in order is one way thermophiles survive. They also use techniques to keep their DNA from falling apart under intense heat. Like proteins, the parts of the long, spiral ladder-shaped DNA molecule start to unravel and break apart under high heat. One way thermophiles keep that from happening is with a helper enzyme called "reverse DNA gyrase" <jeye-race>.
When you go to the dentist to have your jaws X-rayed, you’ll notice that you have to wear a heavy lead apron—and the person who takes the X-ray leaves the room to do it. X-rays are safe, but these precautions give you some sense of how careful we have to be around even relatively harmless levels of radiation. The problem is that unsafe levels of radiation can mess with the cells and molecules in our body, warping them and even breaking them apart. It does the same thing to microbial cells.
In recent years, scientists have turned up microbes living in the frigid waters of Antarctic lakes that are permanently covered with snow and a thick layer of ice. Scientists have found microbes thriving in the wind-blasted rocks and soil atop high mountain summits and in polar snow.