Snow flea

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Snow flea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Entognatha
Order: Collembola
Family: Hypogastruridae
Genus: Hypogastrura
Species: H. nivicola
Binomial name
Hypogastrura nivicola
(Fitch, 1846)

Snow fleas are a species of dark blue springtail, Hypogastrura nivicola. They are often seen jumping about on the surface of snow on a warm winter day.[1]

Research at Queen's University (Canada) have sequenced and synthesised the anti-freeze-like protein that allows snow fleas to operate in sub-zero environments,[2] and found its sequence to be glycine-rich, and unlike any previously known protein. There are hopes that similar proteins may be useful for storing transplant organs and for producing better ice cream.[3] By preventing the formation of ice crystals in tissues, organs could be stored at lower temperatures, increasing their lifespan outside a living body. Unlike proteins with similar functions in other species, the protein found in snow fleas breaks down easily at higher temperatures.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John R. Meyer (September 5, 2006). "Collembola". General Entomology. North Carolina State University. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ Lin FH, et al. (1 March 2007). "Structural modeling of snow flea antifreeze protein". Biophysical Journal 92 (5): 1717–1723. doi:10.1529/biophysj.106.093435. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  3. ^ Simonite, Tom (11 January 2008). "Edible antifreeze promises perfect ice cream". New Scientist. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  4. ^ "New antifreeze protein may allow longer storage of transplant organs". Queen's University (Canada). 2005-10-21.  (Press release.)

External links[edit]