The natural capacity of simple organisms to survive in a dehydrated state has long been exploited by man, with lyophylization the method of choice for the long term storage of bacterial and yeast cells. More recently, attempts have been made to apply this procedure to the long term storage of blood cells. However, despite significant progress, practical application in a clinical setting is still some way off. Conversely, to date there are no reports of attempts to lyophilize nucleated somatic cells for possible downstream applications. Here we demonstrate that lyophilised somatic cells stored for 3 years at room temperature are able to direct embryonic development following injection into enucleated oocytes. These remarkable results demonstrate that alternative systems for the long-term storage of cell lines are now possible, and open unprecedented opportunities in the fields of biomedicine and for conservation strategies.