It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie (or a strange MacGyver episode), but scientists have developed a way to reanimate frozen fish embryos using a combination of lasers, gold particles, and antifreeze.
By why you might ask? This could potentially allow scientists to use cryogenics to freeze and bank embyos of fish at risk of extinction to ensure they could be unfrozen and bred to ensure the species survive.
Cryopreservation is nothing new as scientists have been storing and reanimating human sperm for a while and human embryos since the 1980s. But freezing fish embryos have always been a thorn in the sides of researchers. They could be frozen, but the thawing aspect never worked out since you need to both freeze and thaw really fast, and fish emryos can be difficult to heat up quickly or evenly the typical way.
What researchers, led by John Bischof at the University of Minnesota, discovered was they were able to thaw frozen zebrafish embryos somewhat successfully. They injected them with microscopic cylinders of gold coated in an antifreeze before they are frozen. When they want to thaw them, they’d hit the laser and use it to heat up the gold from the inside out.
While the results were better than before, they weren’t great. Over two-thirds died within an hour of being thawed and 90 percent were dead the next day.
[via ACS Nano]