At Nature's Innocentive site, (a directory for X-prizes), there is an entry looking for someone who can develop a standard method of placing insects into a latent state and then reanimating them. If you figure it out, you can win 20,000 bucks.
What's interesting about the offer isn't that someone is willing to pay big money in order to Han Solo a housefly. (And by the way, you can put a house fly in a freezer for a minute, take it out, tie a string around it and watch it zoom around when it wakes up, but you can't get 20,000 bucks for suggesting that.) Anaesthesia doesn't count, either.
What's interesting is that what the prize is really asking is for someone to figure out how to stop an insect from aging. You would have to figure out how to completely shut down cellular process-- including cell death-- in a complex multicellular organism and keep it alive at the same time.
I have no idea how to do that. But I wonder if there are principles in simpler organisms that can be extrapolated. Lots of tinier creatures go into latent phases. I believe that in many of those cases, there are specialized genetic programs for producing a lot of heat shock protein and for dealing with dehydration: not things that are typically considered practical.
The deadline for the prize is the end of May, and I'll be very interested to see if anyone gets it. I would suggest that those attempting it not use ugly insects. There is no point for someone to pay 20 grand for a procedure that will keep alive a bug when the public pays 6 bucks per can of Raid to try and kill it.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- B0 Meson Lifetime Difference Measured By ATLAS
- Case For Moon: Gateway To Open Ended Human Exploration, With Planetary Protection Central - On The SpaceShow
- The Real Cost Of Milk
- Can't Resist Temptation? That May Not Be A Bad Thing
- Italian Food Scientists Are Tired Of Phony Cheese
- After Losing In Government, Environmental Groups Embrace The Free Market
- Sweet Irony: The Environmental Impacts Of GMO Sugar Science Denial
- "So do i get to meet Loki? because that would be fantastic!!! ..."
- "Practically everyone in America owns a car now, though 100 years ago that was not the case. Henry..."
- "The GMO salmon is not part of a solution to feed the hungry. It may reduce bad behavior, but mostly..."
- "I agree about WA fish management. I've been writing those fish managers for years about population..."
- "Thank god that Hank Campbell, a member of the press, has written a common sense article on this..."
- Ambient Air Pollution Not Linked to Risk of Stillbirth
- Times and Bittman on Sugar Tax: Anti-Scientific and Illogical
- A New Danger at the Grill – Just in Time for Memorial Day Weekend
- Ketamine Better than Haloperidol for Sedation Onset But Not Much Else
- TIps & Tricks To Ward Off Ticks
- What is CRISPR-Cas9 and Why Do We Need to Know About It?
- Anemia negatively affects recovery from traumatic brain injuries
- Neuroscientists illuminate role of autism-linked gene
- New concept turns battery technology upside-down
- Oldest well-documented Blanding's turtle recaptured at U-M reserve at age 83
- Spring comes sooner to urban heat islands, with potential consequences for wildlife