It is a humble Australian reptile boasting a special talent. Biologists have discovered that the skin of the box-patterned gecko, which hails from Western Queensland, can repel water.
They think there is a lot of potential, if the structure can be replicated.
The skin is also self-cleaning, resists dirt and bacteria – and is compatible with human cells.
“Because it can grow, can accept human skin cells or cells in general, you can sort of envisage them as really, really, great coatings on implants,” explained Jolanta Watson, from the University of the Sunshine Coast.
“It’s like having soda water in your glass and the bubbles effervescing, essentially. I thought, wow, that’s very cool, it’s a gecko, ‘geckovesence.’”
Tiny bumps covered in miniscule hairs on the gecko’s skin collect water and push it away. It is this process that makes it hard for bacteria to survive.