Freeze drying may be associated with food products, not with the reproduction of living organisms, however, an article has been published in Nature Connections It is suggested that the latter scenario is also possible.
The freeze drying process is divided into three main successive stages: freezing, sublimation and absorption. In this way, among other things, rations are obtained that can remain fit for consumption much longer than dried products. In the case of cells, the freeze-drying process is not yet particularly effective as it is ultimately successful in about 0.2% of cases.
Therefore, it is hardly a reliable method. On the other hand, it is impossible not to notice the huge potential inherent in this technology. As the authors of new research on this issue demonstrate, in the long run, even many years of cell storage and cloning can play a role. Currently, the first aspect is carried out, among other things, using liquid nitrogen, which is not only difficult, but also expensive.
So there is no doubt that any alternatives would be welcome. Sayaka Wakayama of Yamanashi University in Ionian explains that freeze-dried somatic cells can produce healthy and fertile clones. Therefore, this technology could be crucial in providing alternative, cheaper and safer “biobanking” solutions without the use of liquid nitrogen. As you probably know, adding water to something that has been frozen and dried allows you to restore many of its properties. Of course, it is not so simple with regard to cells.
It is possible to clone animals from freeze-dried cells, although its effectiveness has so far been low
When cloning animals, you need a non-reproductive cell (called a somatic cell) that contains all of the individual’s DNA. Having placed it in an egg cell and using appropriate methods, you can even lead to the development of a new organism. Although cloning is not easy, it allows you to get all of the animal’s genetic material, not just half, that is contained in the reproductive cells.
Using somatic cells from mice, the scientists freeze-dried them and then stored them at -30°C for up to nine months. Despite cell death and DNA damage, the researchers were able to extract the rest of the genetic information and then insert it into new cells. These became the early embryonic cell lines that were used to bring cloned mice into the world.
The success rate of the whole process was not very high and was only 0.2% if all steps were taken into account, even the mouse ‘acquisition’. Interestingly, the chance of success when cloning the famous Dolly the sheep was slightly higher at 0.4%. Genetic abnormalities resulting from DNA damage were also observed in some individuals, so it was difficult to call them a true clone. The cell line even lost its Y chromosome and switched from male to female. Despite these difficulties, if the effectiveness of the described method can be increased, scientists will have a wonderful tool for storing genetic material.
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