The Loh Down On Science

Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes. Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh

Freezable Fruit Flies

by The Loh Down On Science

Yes, I'd like a dove bar and a bag of ... fly-cicles?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

And on freezable fruit flies.

Meet Vladimír Kostála, from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, who devised a way to safely freeze tropical fruit fly larvae.

First, fatten up newborns on proline, a basic building-block of protein. Then slowly lower the room temperature to about sixty degrees Fahrenheit, then forty. Then up to fifty. Back down to forty. Back up. Down. Do this for three days.

The very slow up-and-down--less than a degree an hour--lulls the fly babies into a very deep sleep. In the meantime, the proline saturates their tissues and acts like antifreeze, preventing vitals from becoming ice.

Kostála stored some of the fly babies at subzero temperatures. Upon thawing, they woke up, continued normal
development, and transformed into healthy adults. They even mated and started little families!

The technique could eventually be used to cryopreserve fly strains around the world, saving loads of time maintaining live colonies.

And what better lab-party favor than fruit-fly jello shots?



The Loh Down on Science, online, at lohdown.org. Produced by 89.3 KPCC and the California Institute of Technology, and made possible by TIAA-CREF.

Follow us on Twitter at LohDown.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy The Loh Down On Science? Try KPCC’s other programs.

What's popular now on KPCC