Can memory be retained after cryopreservation? research has attempted to answer this long-standing question by using the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), a well-known model organism for biological research that has generated revolutionary findings but has not been tested for memory retention after cryopreservation.
The study’s goal was to test C. elegans’ memory recall after vitrification and reviving. Using a method of sensory imprinting in the young C. elegans we established that learning acquired through olfactory cues shapes the animal’s behavior and the learning is retained at the adult stage after vitrification.
The research method included olfactory imprinting with the chemical benzaldehyde (C6H5CHO), the fast cooling SafeSpeed method for vitrification at the L2 stage, reviving, and a chemotaxis assay for testing memory retention of learning at the adult stage.
Results in testing memory retention after cryopreservation show that the mechanisms that regulate the odorant imprinting (a form of long-term memory) in C. elegans have not been modified by the process of vitrification or by slow freezing.
This research is the beginnings of evidence that humans may one day be cryopreserved and then revived with their memory intact.