Turtle can freeze solid and survive, and we have those same genes

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The following is an excerpt.

Look beyond the western painted turtle’s colorful stripes and you’ll find an animal that seems to have nearly magical powers.

A baby western painted turtle can freeze solid, and as long as nothing cracks it in half or tampers with it too much, the turtle will be just fine when the temperature warms up and its body thaws out. An adult western painted turtle can go without oxygen for up to 30 hours at room temperature, and if the temperature drops to 37 degrees, it can hold its breath for up to four months at a stretch.

So when more than 50 international researchers launched a project to sequence the painted turtle genome several years ago, they weren’t just hoping to answer questions about how it would differ from the genome of other animals but also to discover the unique genes that allow it to freeze without getting frostbite and exhibit no brain damage even after living for months without oxygen.

What they discovered is that the turtle’s genome is not that different from our own.

View the original article here: Turtle can freeze solid and survive, and we have those same genes

Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend