All theories related to the evolution of Deinococcus radiodurans have a common denominator: the strong positive correlation between ionizing-radiation resistance and desiccation tolerance. Currently, the widespread hypothesis is that D. radiodurans' ionizing-radiation resistance is a consequence of this organism's adaptation to desiccation (desiccation adaptation hypothesis). Here, we draw attention to major discrepancy that has emerged between the "desiccation adaptation hypothesis" and recent findings in computational biology, experimental research, and terrestrial subsurface surveys. We explain why the alternative hypothesis, suggesting that D. radiodurans' desiccation tolerance could be a consequence of this organism's adaptation to ionizing radiation (radiation adaptation hypothesis), should be considered on equal basis with the "desiccation adaptation hypothesis".
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