30
Jan
13

The Secret To Immortality Lies In A Motherflippin’ Jellyfish!

immortal-jellyfish-turritopsis-nutricula-4I don’t usually blog about sciencey / marine biology-ee stuff, but today’s post is an exception folks because I read about this curazy jellyfish that has been classified as “biologically immortal”.

The little sucker in question is no bigger than your pinky nail (4.5mm) which was a bit of an anti-climax for me (I was picturing some gigantic, alien-looking thing taking heavy artillery fire and instantly regenerating).

But then I read about this thing’s life cycle and I was completely dumbstruck. The Turritopsis nutricula (“Turry” to his friends) is able to transform its cells from a mature state back to immaturity after it has matured and mated. In other words, this little asshole is capable of aging backwards.

The following excerpt is stolen directly from Wiki-p-to-the-e:

Turritopsis nutricula, the immortal jellyfish, is a hydrozoan whose medusa, or jellyfish, form can revert to the polyp stage after becoming sexually mature. It is the only known case of a metazoan capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature, colonial stage after having reached sexual maturity as a solitary stage. It does this through the cell development process of transdifferentiation. Cell transdifferentiation is when the jellyfish "alters the differentiated state of the cell and transforms it into a new cell". In this process the medusa of the immortal jellyfish is transformed into the polyps of a new polyp colony. First, the umbrella reverts itself and then the tentacles and mesoglea get resorbed. The reverted medusa then attaches itself to the substrate by the end that had been at the opposite end of the umbrella and starts giving rise to new polyps to form the new colony. Theoretically, this process can go on indefinitely, effectively rendering the jellyfish biologically immortal.

How whack is that?! As a result of this “biological immortality” these little suckers are spreading like wildfire from the Carribean to oceans all over the world. Of course, if they’re eaten by predators or succumb to disease they die, but otherwise they can totes* age backwards after they get laid.

That is some Benjamin Button shit going down right there. Imagine if people were like that?

 

 

Your whole life would build up to the point where you popped your cherry and as soon as that happened you’d wake up younger and younger and younger everyday until you were a um… polyp again?

Scientists are trying to figure out how we can use this to our benefit, but it’s all still pretty wishy washy at the moment. At best, they think it might unlock the secret of immortality, but realistically all it will probably do is improve the quality of our lives in their final stages.

 

 

Personally, I reckon by the time they’ve found a way to apply whatever magic makes these little guys age backwards to us, we would have already found a way to make cells regenerate indefinitely using nano technology.

Either way, look at the pretty jellyfish!

 

 

 

I rest my case.

-ST

*totes is being used entirely in an ironic sense in this article. I do not endorse the way hipster scum have shat all over the King’s English. Abbreviating every word you say and adding an “s” at the end is totes ridic!


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