The Immortal Jellyfish

This is Turritopsis nutricula, the immortal jellyfish. Adults can actually revert back to the polp stage – they absorb their tentacles and reattach themselves the ground. That’s like a butterfly turning back into a caterpillar. As a polyp, it can produce entire new colonies.

Lab tests found that 100% of individuals reverted to polyp stage, and could be prompted to do so as a result of starvation, temperature change or a drop in salinity.

The trick to Turritopsis‘ infinite do-overs is a process called transdifferentiation, which turns one type of cell into another. While other animals can undergo limited transdifferentiation to regenerate organs (salamandars can regrow limbs, for example), Turritopsi is the only one that can regenerate its entire body.

When they’re damaged or hurt, the jellyfish spends three days returning to its polyp stage and eventually becomes an adult again. Kubota says that the jellyfish, though primitive, share more genetic data with humans than they do with things like insects or worms, which means that, if he or someone else is able to understand how they’re able to reverse the aging process, the same theory might be applied to humans.

Biologically, Turritopsis nutricula is immortal.

Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality? (Article)
Wikipedia: Turritopsis dohrnii

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