Antarctic Fish Have Antifreeze Blood and Ice Crystals in Their Bodies

September 23, 2014 2:28 PM

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Antarctic Fish Have Antifreeze Blood and Ice Crystals in Their Bodies

Antarctic fish may swim in freezing waters, but they don't freeze themselves. Now, scientists have taken a closer look at why this is, uncovering "antifreeze" proteins that allow the fish to survive in the icy Southern Ocean. Yet there's an unfortunate side effect of this antifreeze; it turns out that protein-bound ice crystals that accumulate in the body resist melting even after temperatures warm.

"We discovered what appears to be an undesirable consequence of the evolution of antifreeze proteins in Antarctic notothenioid fishes," said Paul Cziko, the lead researcher, in a news release. "What we found is that the antifreeze proteins also stop internal ice crystals from melting. That is, they ...

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