such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
Using a microscope the size of a football field, researchers from The
University of Western Ontario are studying why some insects can survive
freezing, while others cannot.
Why is this important? Because the common fruit fly (Drosophila
melanogaster) is one of the bugs that cannot survive freezing and
the little creature just so happens to share much of the same genetic
makeup as humans, therefore finding a way to freeze them for research
purposes is a top priority for geneticists the world over (about 75 per
cent of known human disease genes have a recognizable match in the
genetic code of fruit flies).
And why the large microscope?
"It's the only one in the world that's set up for this kind of
imaging on insects," says lead researcher Brent Sinclair of his team's
use of the Advanced Photon Source (APS), located near Chicago, Illinois.
The APS generates high-energy x-rays that allow Sinclair and his
collaborators to film the formation and spread of ice in real time as
the maggots freeze.
An assistant professor in Western's Department of Biology, Sinclair
explains that the physical processes of ice formation seem to be
consistent among species that do and don't survive freezing. However, 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 says 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," says Sinclair. "The idea is to find the magic bullet
which allows some bugs to survive freezing and some don't. That's the
The Western-led research was published in the journal PLoS ONE,
an peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the Public Library of
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