Cryptobiosis research?

George Hammond ghammond at mediaone.net
Thu Dec 7 03:52:21 EST 2000

Cryptobiosis created quite a sensation in the 19th century
when it was first discovered... even such luminaries as
Paul Broca studied it.
  Turns out the mechanism is still not well understood
in the 21st century.
  Small animals, less than 1-mm in size, composed typically
of 1,000 cells, but having a brain, nervecords, digestive
system, feet etc. (nematodes, tardigrades, brine shrimp,
rotifers etc.) can actually be (naturally or artificially)
decissitated, frozen, vacuumized, heated etc.. and are
virtually ruled "dead", sometimes for years, decades or
centuries... can then be revived by simply  putting them
in a drop of water!  These are animals, not plants, mind
  In the 19th century this was considered proof of the
"Resurrection" and caused quite a controversy.
  I am curious as to what present day thinking about
this phenomena is.... e.g., are these animals actually
"dead" during cryptobiosis?  I mean, what is the
definition of "dead"?  Are spores dead?
  On the technical side, has any in depth research been
done on the solid state structure of the cells?  for
instance, is their microtubulin activity during this
phase?  Any activity at all?
  does anybody know who the world's leading expert on this
subject is?  Any recent hi-grade research publications
on the subject?  Journals dedicated to the subject?
George Hammond, M.S. Physics
Email:    ghammond at mediaone.net
Website:  http://people.ne.mediaone.net/ghammond/index.html

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