Antarctic Fish Species has natural antifreeze

Antarctic Fish Species has natural antifreeze

Researchers have revealed an interesting fact about a fish species known as Notothenioids. The fish have ice in their veins, which doesn't even melt during warm season. The fish produce proteins that act as a type of natural anti-freeze which keeps the ice crystals small in size.

These proteins make sure that ice crystals do not grow beyond a certain size. Through the new study, a new function of the protein was unveiled that they do not let ice melt quite rapidly.

Lead researcher Paul Cziko of the University of Oregon said after carrying out experiments, they came to know about the new feature of the proteins. During the experiments, researchers left the fish in warm water to the predicted melting point of -1.1 centigrade, but ice crystals did not melt.

The research team increased the level of the experiment by raising the temperature by another degree centigrade, but then also the ice crystals remained inside the fish body. It has happened for the first time that ice has not melted beyond its melting point in nature, affirmed researchers.

Cziko thinks that in earlier studies, researchers might not have paid attention towards the natural anti-freeze proteins. They might have been focussing towards the ability of fish to tackle cold temperatures, and not warm temperatures.

Researchers think that if the fish would not have evolved anti-freeze ability, then it might have proved fatal in the long term. One of the researchers, Dr. Christina Cheng of the University of Oregon, said the research is a perfect example that evolution is a flawless process.

"Adaptation is a story of trade-offs and compromise. Every good evolutionary innovation probably comes with some bad, unintended effects", affirmed Cheng.

The research, published in the journal Proccedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), revealed that it is one of the few species of fish that have the ability to survive in the frigid waters in Antarctica.

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