The Loh Down On Science

Freezable Fruit Flies

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?



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