Peregrine flight

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jelly of Immortality

Shawn Mayes, Thailand's nepenthe growing most eligible bachelor, sent this interesting article along about the self perpetuating jellyfish. This species, like your author, occasionally reverts to juvenile form to stay young.  I love jellies. Annotations are Shawn's.

Secret of Eternal Youth is found in an Immortal Jellyfish

Immortal Jellyfish - Turritopsis nutricula
Believe it or not, according to scientists, the creature you see, which is a 5mm jellyfish is actually… immortal. It could possibly be the only creature in the world which is actually immortal.
Jellyfishes normally die after propogating themselves asexually, but most jellyfish of the genus Turritopsis are able to revert back into an immature sexual state after reaching adulthood, (What a choice – sex or immortality!) therefore technically, they could never die. It was also documented that it could transform into its younger form (in a bloblike cyst, which then develops into a polyp colony – the first stage of a jellyfish’s life) even when facing crisis, starvation or physical damage. (So next time some smart ass tells you you’re looking ‘kinda blob-like’ just tell ‘em it a healing thing!)

Such jellyfish which is a hydrozoan is believed to be able to transform itself from its adult state into younger state through process called transdifferetiation, where a type of cell can transform into another type of cell. This is usually only found in organ regeneration among living beings, but occurs quite naturally in this creature. These jellyfishes are now invading the oceans and its numbers are increasing rapidly. Marine biologists and scientists are now keeping a close eye on these tiny creatures. (Sounds like I should be breeding these things in my shade house ponds!)

Other known immortal species includes: Turritopsis dohrnii

Well, another creature which is believed to be immortal is the Hydra. It has been suggested that hydras do not undergo senescence or the aging process, and so are considered biologically immortal.

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