Background

CRYO -  (Greek: kryos) cold, frigid (Citation 20)

Cryobiology is the branch of biology that studies the effects of low temperatures on living things. Understanding how to manipulate the freezing process is the cryobiologist’s ultimate goal. Just as food is stored in the deep freezer, low temperatures have the ability to preserve life. On the other hand, these temperatures also have the ability to destroy. Frozen crops or frostbite on ears or toes are examples where the cold has damaged cells so badly that they are destroyed. It is this dual nature of the cold to preserve and destroy that has created its own special field of cryobiology in the entire subject of biotechnology and to subfields such as cryopreservation and cryosurgery.  (Citation 8)

Above: Because of evolution, some organisms have adapted to survive at extremely low temperatures, even below the freezing point of water (0°C). Their ability to create biomolecules allow these organism to prevent the fluid in their cells from freezing solid. The figure above demonstrates the wide tempreture range that of living organism. The Himalayan midge,an insect found in glaciers, is still active at -20°C. (Citation 8)

Above: Cell and tissue banks of frozen cells help scientists manufacture cellular products and conduct experiments on cells. Keeping their samples at cold tempratures allows scientists to keep desirable cells in a state of suspended animation. Scientists most commonly freeze thin tissue cells like skin cells, but the extention of this procedure has been known to include the successful freezing and transplant of organs. (Citation 8)

Site Authors:

Ella Eser

Sadaf Sobhani

Davis Senior High School