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The science team had the good idea of hitting Sharon with a petrification device. Good old Medusa. The device sends microparticles into the body inserting foreign RNA into each cell. These carry the genetic information necessary to enter suspended animation or cryptobiosis. A signal then tells the cells to pump their water into their vacuoles, which grow to take about 80% of the cells mass. As the water leaves the cells, tardigrade-specific intrinsically disordered proteins, or TDPs takes its place.

The result is that Sharon is now a porous material filled with semi-permeable water sacks. Poor Sharon got stoned.

It's all good though. The water is still in each cell, ready to be released. In theory the science team should be able to undo the petrification, restart her heart and give her CPR and she should be fine. Probably.

*Disclaimer: the events of this story may be fictional and only intended for this question to be in context. Don't try this yourself.

When petrified, what happens to the blood?

To clarify, I'm asking about the petrification process first and foremost. Each cell can contain its own amount of water (about 80%) in the vacuoles, which are normally folded like origami and can grow to take up that 80% of space in the cell. My concern is with the water in the bloodstream. In fact, blood is about 80% water and 20% solid. So what happens to the blood?

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    $\begingroup$ "What happens to the blood [plasma]?" Quite obviously, what happens to the blood plasma is the same thing that happens to the interstitial fluid. For reference, in the stereotypical normal adult human there is about three times more interstitial fluid than blood plasma. (And don't forget the other fluid filled spaces -- the aqueous humor in the eyes, the cerebrospinal fluid and so on. P.S. You may want to think hard about what it actually means for the "proteins, organelles and DNA" to be crystallized (no aitch, Greek crystallos "ice"). $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 13, 2022 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ Excess fluid must be extracted from the veins, before or during the procedure, supplied back later... leaving freezing water inside would be deadly, its volume is larger than the fluid form, the pressure of water ice would damage the veins. But I wonder, if excess fluid will be the only problem with this method.. when it involves active RNA, this RNA will have to be removed or deactivated, in every cell else Sharon would "restone" herself. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Mar 13, 2022 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ Do NOT use the comments to answer. $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2022 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ I've put my comment, because I doubt if this petrification procedure through genetic modification (RNA insertion) would be reversable. But I lack the knowledge to put a proper frame challenge into an answer! $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Mar 13, 2022 at 14:15

2 Answers 2

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You might be interested in this article.

Cryptobiosis in Humans Cryptobiosis in humans is known as suspended animation. Researchers have devised ways to save lives through cryptobiosis. The doctors in the US have been working on a technique known as emergency Preservation and Resuscitation. In this, the blood in the body is replaced with cold saline fluid, that would decrease the body temperature to 10°C. This chills the body and the brain and there is very less requirement of oxygen by the body. This reduces the chances of brain damage. By doing this they can get ample time to cure severe injuries such as those caused by accidents and gunshots. Soon after the treatment, the saline is replaced with blood and the body rewarms gradually. The process has been successfully experimented on pigs.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer. The issue is not with temperature but water. Regardless pumping out the blood during the procedure seems to be the way to go. Perhaps draining and dehydrating the blood to preserve it? Hmmm. $\endgroup$ Mar 15, 2022 at 16:27
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When the cells start pumping their own water into vacuoles, it creates a moisture differential across the cell membranes. This can lead to some water being absorbed by each cell, enough to absorb all the plasma in the subject's blood. Because of this, you need to be careful about using the Medusa when in the rain/pool, as the subject can become very soggy.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer. Not only would the petrification fail with exposure to water but the water pressure would make the cells burst. Unless of course the vacuoles pump the excess water out like they are supposed to. Then again that is counterproductive. $\endgroup$ Mar 15, 2022 at 16:25
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    $\begingroup$ That's why they always say petrifying your enemies is more of an art than a science. $\endgroup$
    – Atog
    Mar 15, 2022 at 16:32

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