washingtonpost.com  > Print Edition > Metro
Correction to This Article
A Dec. 12 Metro article about animals that freeze solid incorrectly said that spring peepers and gray tree frogs lose their ability to freeze as they age. The animals keep that ability into adulthood.
Page 3 of 3  < Back  

Trying to Crack An Icy Mystery

Using fish proteins made in a lab, scientists have managed to preserve a pig's heart at subfreezing temperatures for 24 hours, then transplant it into another pig.

Scientists say they don't see any immediate potential for putting an entire human body in a science fiction-style deep freeze; the frogs, after all, don't stay frozen forever.

Frozen Frog Time-Lapse Video

But just freezing and thawing one human organ would be a major breakthrough.

"If we can translate that into a human heart, then we'll do very well," Rubinsky said.

Now, even as researchers try to copy the frog's techniques, the freezing amphibians still haven't given up all their secrets.

Their ability to thaw puzzles scientists, who are trying to crack the process and pinpoint the trigger that restarts the frog's heart.

Whatever it is, Storey said, "it's not magic. It's physical chemistry."

Video of a wood frog thawing out from a frozen state is available on The Washington Post Web site at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/mmedia/nation/120904-12v.htm.

< Back  1 2 3

© 2004 The Washington Post Company