Frozen Fruit Fly’s Potential
Scientists in Czech Republic have recently thawed a fruit fly which had been frozen the year before while pupating. During this year, the drosophila melanogaster was preserved through several generations at temperatures of 23˚C.
One of the possible side-effects scientists were testing for included the fruit fly’s ability to develop and mate post-freeze. Luckily, the fly has been able to both successfully metamorph and mate to produce healthy offspring.
Only a few insects can tolerate freezing, as the accumulation of ice crystals in most vertebrates’ bodies is either very harmful or fatal. Vladimír Koštál and his team of researchers have reported that these flies can survive being frozen, but require a diet of cryoperservatives and amino acids from close evolutionary relatives native to the Arctic.
Implications of this study, if further tested could lead to the better understanding of genes’ underlying susceptibility to cold. By singling-out how some organisms are able to thrive in cold could help researchers understand how humans could, in order to help organs survive on ice for longer periods so they can be transplanted. In addition, this could prove useful for entomologists, as they could preserve whole organisms for study rather than acquiring whole gene pools.