Researchers in U.S. Revive Cryogenically Frozen Life

by Julie Fidler , http://naturalsociety.com:

Until now, long-distance space travel has always been exclusively found in sci-fi books and flicks. I say “until now” because U.S. researchers have successfully reanimated cryogenically frozen life, in the form of frozen zebra fish embryos – something scientists have been trying to do for 60 years. [1]

 

If you want to live forever – or you just want to see if we’re finally driving flying cars in 2030 – it might be possible with cryogenic freezing.

 

The problem was always trying to defrost the organism. Frozen water expands, causing ice to burst cells from the inside out. Scientists have long considered replacing the body’s fluids with antifreeze. For decades now, there have been antifreeze-filled zebra fish embryos snap-frozen to -196C in liquid nitrogen, just waiting for researchers to figure out how to bring them back to life.

The team writes in the journal ACS Nano:

“The large size of the yolk still impedes rapid cooling and warming, thereby yielding lethal ice crystal formation during cryopreservation.”

The researchers had hoped that using a millisecond-long flash of heat from a laser would raise temperatures fast enough and evenly enough to avoid ice crystal formation, but the experiment failed. They needed to find a way to get ahead of the ice formation.

US researchers have successfully reanimated zebra fish embryos after ‘deep freezing’ them in a cryogenic suspension process. Source: ACS NanoSource:Supplied

Instead, the zebra fish embryos were revived using an additive to the original antifreeze: gold nano-rods. The tiny metal fragments successfully conducted the laser’s heat quickly and more evenly.

Researchers refilled the zebra fish embryos with the revamped antifreeze, kept them at -196C for a few minutes, and then used the laser to rapidly defrost them.


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