DARPA Seeks Metabolic Dominance

DARPA has initiated a new program called "Metabolic Dominance" to assure that soldiers have superior physiological qualities. DARPA (or Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), as you may recall, is the same organization that brought us the Internet.

The Metabolic Dominance goal:

"The ultimate goal is to enable superior physical and physiological performance by controlling energy metabolism on demand. An example is continuous peak physical performance and cognitive function for 3 to 5 days, 24 hours per day, without the need for calories."
A variety of possible technologies are being developed, including nutriceuticals as well as using transdermal patches to deliver essential vitamins and nutrients.

Fans of science fiction writer Jack Vance may recall the manlike Meks, from his award-winning 1967 novel The Last Castle. The Meks were excellent warriors; they were taken from their original habitat and provided with an ideal solution to the problem set forth in the Metabolic Dominance program goals - the syrup sac:

His maw, a vertical irregular cleft at the base of this "face" was an obsolete organ by inclusion of the syrup sac which had been introduced under the skin of the shoulders...
(Read more about the syrup sac)

The program also seeks advances in thermophysiology, or the study of how fluctuations in the human body's core temperature can limit performance.

Reference articles:
Metabolic Dominance Program Goals and Objectives
Metabolic Engineering for Cellular Stasis
DARPA Offers No Food for Thought

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/17/2004)

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