Animals Kept In Deep Freeze For 30 Years Brought Back To Life

One of the revived tardigrades even managed to reproduce.
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Microscopic creatures kept frozen for more than three decades have been successfully brought back to life.

The 1mm long tardigrades were collected from a frozen moss sample in Antarctica in 1983, according to a new paper published in the journal Cryobiology.

Japan's National Institute of Polar Research stored the 8 legged, segmented critters at -4F for just over 30 years. They thawed and revived two of the animals, which are also known as water bears or moss piglets, in early 2014.

The previous record for a tardigrade being revived from a deep freeze was 8 years.
The previous record for a tardigrade being revived from a deep freeze was 8 years.
Credit: Photolibrary via Getty Images

One of them died 20 days into the experiment, reports the BBC. But its companion survived and managed to reproduce with a third tardigrade that had been hatched from a frozen egg. It went on to lay 19 eggs, of which 14 survived.

According to Japan's The Asahi Shimbun newspaper, their metabolism shuts down and they enter a cryptobiotic state when faced with low temperatures.

The previous record for tardigrades surviving extreme cold was eight years. "The present study extends the known length of long-term survival in tardigrade species considerably," researchers wrote in the newly released paper.

A nematode worm was revived after 39 years in deep freeze.
A nematode worm was revived after 39 years in deep freeze.
Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER via Getty Images

Lead researcher Megumu Tsujimoto said the team now wants to "unravel the mechanism for long-term survival by looking into damage to tardigrades' DNA and their ability to repair it."

The tardigrade has some way to go beat the record for surviving in a frozen state, however, which is currently held by the nematode worm - which managed 39 years in deep freeze before being revived.

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