The effect of cryopreservation on the lethal mutation rate in Drosophila melanogaster

Genet Res. 1997 Jun;69(3):209-13. doi: 10.1017/s0016672397002760.


Although cryopreservation is routinely used for the storage of a range of biological organisms, few studies have been conducted to determine whether cryopreservation increases the frequency of mutation. A procedure for the cryopreservation of Drosophila melanogaster embryos has recently been developed. Cryopreservation of D. melanogaster is of special interest to geneticists and evolutionary biologists because it would make it possible to assay control and experimental populations simultaneously during long-term studies. Before cryopreserved embryos can be used for such studies, it is first necessary to show that cryopreservation is not mutagenic. We tested for mutagenic effects or cryopreservation in D. melanogaster embryos with an X-linked, recessive lethal assay. The mutation rates of cryopreserved and control flies were not significantly different. We can be 95% certain that cryopreservation does not increase mutation by a factor greater than 2.39. This is the first quantitative estimate of the mutagenic effect of cryopreservation on the germ line of a metazoan. The results are reassuring when considering the genetic impact of cryopreservation on mammalian gametes and embryos.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cryopreservation*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology*
  • Female
  • Genes, Lethal*
  • Heterozygote
  • Larva
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Survival Rate
  • X Chromosome