RNAi screening for Identification of Compounds to Induce Suspended Animation or Hypometabolism
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AbstractWhile the phenomenon of suspended animation has not been widely studied in humans, there are many anecdotal and medically verified examples of humans being in a state that is comparable to suspended animation when they have been accidentally nearly frozenfor short periods of time. There could be many advantages to inducing suspended animation or hypometabolism in humans such as extending survival time from injuries and reducing food, oxygen, and water supply requirements during transportation. Suspendedanimation can be induced in simple and complex organisms using a variety of environmental cues. However, to date no compounds have been identified that can promote suspended animation in vertebrates. In order to begin the process of identifying thesecompounds, Agave BioSystems proposes to use the model organism, C. elegans, to identify gene products that induce or inhibit the state of suspended animation. This is an important first step in understanding, and eventually being able to regulate, thephenomenon of suspended animation in vertebrates. The ability to induce, and subsequently terminate, the state of suspended animation in humans and other vertebrates could be utilized in many ways. For example, the logistics required for the movement oftroops and ancillary animals, e.g. military dogs, could be greatly simplified, and the supplies required could be greatly reduced. In addition, and more importantly, the length of time that an injured person could survive without medical attention couldbe profoundly increased. The induction of suspended animation could also be used to help protect troops from lethal exposure to biological and chemical weapons by reducing air intake.
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