After spending 24,000 years frozen in permanent Arctic ice in the Siberian region, Russian scientists were able to resurrect rotiferous bdeloids. These multicellular organisms can only be seen through a microscope and are extremely hardy, surviving not only freezing but also drought, starvation, and low oxygen levels.
The study detailing the investigators’ findings was published in the scientific magazine Current Biology on Monday (7). Bdeloid rotifers are usually found in watery habitats. The study’s animals were collected from a frozen soil sample collected with a drill from the pergelisol.
“Our report is the strongest proof to date that multicellular animals can survive tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis, a state of metabolism that is almost completely disrupted,” said Stats Malavin, a member of the Institute for the Science of Physical-Chemical and Biological Soil Problems in Pushchino, Rus.
Researchers have previously discovered single-celled animals that may “resurrect” after a long period of time. There have also been accounts of mosses and plants regrowing after being imprisoned in ice for thousands of years, as well as a nematode worm rebuilding after 30,000 years.
The researchers utilized radiocarbon dating to determine when bdeloid rotifers were frozen. According to previous data, these animals may survive for up to ten years frozen in ice. Much less than the brand-new copies.
The rotifers were able to procreate once they were brought back to life. Parthenogenesis, a process in which the embryo grows without fertilization, is how these creatures produce progeny.
Because the creatures survived the production of ice crystals that occur during slow freezing, scientists believe they have a method to protect cells and organs from damage caused by low temperatures. They’re now interested in learning more about the biological systems that allow rotifers to survive.
The researchers are hoping that the microbes may provide insight into how to maintain cells, tissues, and organs from other animals. Humans are included.
“It is obvious that the more sophisticated an organism is, the more difficult it is to keep it alive and frozen, which is now impossible for mammals. Although minuscule, going from a unicellular creature to a creature with an intestine and a brain is a significant step forward,” Malavin remarked.