Why study diapause?


David L. Denlinger, Department of Entomology, Ohio State University, 400 Aronoff Laboratory, 318 West 12th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, USA. Email: denlinger.1@osu.edu


This review highlights a number of reasons why insect diapause merits attention. Knowledge of diapause is essential for understanding the seasonal biology of an insect species, and such information is also required for the development of effective pest management strategies; manipulating domesticated species used in pollination and silk production; developing accurate predictive models used to forecast periods of pest abundance; and increasing the shelf-life of parasitoids and predatory mites used in the biological control industry. Mechanisms used by diapausing insects to survive low temperature may provide tips for cryopreserving insect stocks, a vital need within the research community. Diapause also presents an interesting model for probing fundamental questions in development, and we are indebted to diapause studies for early insights into insect hormones. In addition, I argue that insect diapause may provide insights into questions on aging, obesity and disease transmission, and diapausing insects offer a potentially rich source of pharmaceutical agents that may contribute to improvement of human health.