Why some insects can survive freezing, while others cannot

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Washington, Dec 20 (ANI): Fruit flies happen to share much of the same genetic makeup as humans, which make them an ideal research model. Now, researchers are finding out ways to freeze them so that they can be used for research purposes.

The team from The University of Western Ontario are studying why some insects can survive freezing, while others cannot.

They tend to mimic the mechanism used by other insects to survive freezing in common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

Lead researcher Brent Sinclair says that the physical processes of ice formation seem to be consistent among species that do and don't survive freezing.

It seems that the insects that survive freezing have some control over the process of ice formation. They freeze at consistently higher temperatures than those that don't.

Sinclair said this implies that the main adaptations required to survive freezing are at the cellular or biochemical level, rather than because of fundamental structural differences.

"We're comparing Chymomyza amoena, an insect native to Ontario that survives freezing, with Drosophila melanogaster, because they're very close relatives," said Sinclair.

"The idea is to find the magic bullet which allows some bugs to survive freezing and some don't. That's the goal here."

The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE. (ANI)

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