When many insects get cold they produce a special sugar that stops their cells from freezing and keeps them working at low temperatures.
In any biochemical process there are usually many genes involved. In the case of the Arctic springtail (Megaphorura arctica), we have identified just one of these sugar-producing genes. Better understanding of genetics can lead to breakthroughs in biomedicine and other industries.
This artwork shows a heat map. Each row represents the behaviour of a different gene and each column represents a different cold treatment. The colours show how much of that gene is produced under each treatment. Red means the gene is produced more compared to control conditions, green means less and black denotes no change. Through this type of analysis we have identified 27 novel Arctic springtail genes potentially associated with surviving freezing, which can now be investigated further.
Dr Melody Clark
British Antarcic Survey