An antifreeze pill?

Japanese scientists may have found an answer to our winter woes in the genes of a highly cold-resistant sea turtle parasite.

Winter might be on the wane, but we could still stand a little help from the genes of the leech ozobranchus jantseanus, a parasite of freshwater turtles.

At the end of January, a Japanese team of researchers reported in the scientific publication Plos One that they had subjected the ozobranchus leech to temperatures of -196 C for 24 hours and -90 C for 32 months. And the tiny creature survived.

"We anticipate that the mechanism for the observed tolerance to freezing and thawing in o. jantseanus will prove useful for future studies of cryopreservation," says the article. How about starting with a winter-protection pill for Canadians?

About the Author

Yan Barcelo

Yan Barcelo is a journalist in Montreal.

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