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Cryobiology

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Definition

noun

The study of the effects of low temperatures on living organisms, organs, biological tissues, or cells


Supplement

Cryobiology is one of the branches of biology. It is concerned with the effects of low temperatures (or that which is below normal) on organisms, particularly on their cells, tissues, and organs. It may focus on various areas, e.g. the adaptive mechanisms employed by an organism at hypothermic or cryogenic conditions. It may also aim to develop strategies on the cryopreservation of cells, tissues, or embryos, especially for use in research or medical procedures (such as transplantation). For instance, human gametes and embryos (at two- to eight-cell stage) can be cryopreserved for a decade at -196 °C provided that the laboratory conditions are well-controlled. Cryobiology is also into the lyophilization studies of pharmaceuticals. Cryosurgery is also a major focus in the cryobiology field. It employs extreme cold for surgical procedures. It intends to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue under controlled conditions by inducing the formation of ice crystals within the cells. For instance, it is used to remove warts, moles, skin tags, and small cancers.

An expert in cryobiology is called a cryobiologist.



Word origin: Greek words kryos ("cold") + bios ("life") + logos ("word", science)

See also:

  • Branches of Biology

Related form(s):

  • cyrobiological (adjective)
  • cryobiologist