Illustration for article titled Frozen fruit fly larva brings us one step closer to cryogenics

It's been a dream for years — freezing your body at the moment of death, so that you can be revived later, when medical science has advanced enough to cure you, and possibly rejuvenate you as well.


And now, scientists may have brought the development of real cryogenics a bit closer — by making one species of insect a bit more resistant to being frozen.


Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, can't handle being frozen as well as some other insects can. But by exposing their larvae to specific temperatures, and feeding them a certain diet, researchers have found a way to make fruit flies survive down to -5°C, where half their body water froze.

First, the larvae are acclimatized to a fluctuating thermal regime (FTR) of temperatures between 6˚C and 11˚C. Second, they were fed a diet with extra of the amino acid proline, a known cryoprotectant. Neither of these was very effective on their own — but together, they massively amped up the survival rate of the insect. Unfortunately, even thus improved, only 9% of the larvae grew to adults that could produce viable offspring, but it's a start.

Practically, this could help preserve a number of species' genetic lines that are used commonly in labs throughout the world. However, I prefer to think of it as small step towards freezing our bodies, and shooting us off into space. Now, where are my proline tablets?

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