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.
Insects In Stasis
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